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    National Bal Bhawan claims procurement of AC is personal information


    personal-information-rtiWhen an RTI Applicant sought information from National Bal Bhawan on enquiry report/orders of the two member committee inquiry about the purchase of 100 ACs for the National Bal Bhavan and the related electrical works First Appellate Authority (FAA) denied information on the grounds that it is exempted under RTI Act, the same is hit by Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act as it is personal information and disclosure of which is not in larger public interest. Read more about what is Privacy under RTI Act.

    The Central Information Commission (CIC) declined to accept the contentions of the Respondent authority and directs them to furnish the 2 Member Inquiry report and other information sought by the appellant.

    The fact of the case is as under:

    The appellant filed the RTI application seeking copy of enquiry report/orders of the two member committee inquiry into the procurement of Air Conditioners and execution of civil work and electrical work in National Bal Bhawan and JBB, Mandi along with copy of action taken report, noting etc. on it by Ministry of HRD – Vigilance Wing. The CPIO transferred the matter to the Director, National Bal Bhawan for necessary action. The appellant filed appeal before the first appellate authority (FAA) and the FAA denied information on the grounds that it is exempted under RTI Act as it is personal information and disclosure of which is not in larger public interest. Dissatisfied, the appellant filed a second appeal before this Commission under section 19(3) of the RTI Act.

    The decision can be read from here!

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    In my humble opinion, I submit with due respect to the jurisdiction of the commission, last para of the order with regard to directing the respondents to inform the commission about the action taken on the inquiry report and why there is delay in taking action is totally outside the jurisdiction of the commission. The RTI Act neither expressly nor impliedly confer such powers on the commission to issue such directions. The commission being neither a court nor a tribunal is not vested with such powers to pass SUCH OTHER ORDERS AS IT DEEMS FIT IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE. To put it in a simple way, it can be said that the commission is just a second appellate authority under RTI, which is vested with some additional powers of imposing penalty, recommending disciplinary action against erring officer, issuance of directions to further the ends of the Act. At any rate, its ultimate power is getting the information furnished to the applicants.

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    It looks that the PIO/FAA is looking from a different angle. Though, it is not out of RTI purview to disseminate the information, the subsequent decision of punishing vests with the relevant department for violation of RTI requirement. From that point of view, I feel, punishment to PIO is not in the hands of CIC.

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