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  1. What is contained in confidential reports is undoubtedly ‘personal information’ about that employee. The ACRs are protected from disclosure because arguably such disclosure seriously harm interpersonal relationship in a given organization. Further, the ACR notings represent an interaction based on trust and confidence between the officers involved in initiating, reviewing or accepting the ACRs. These officers could be seriously embarrassed and even compromised if their notings are made public. There are, thus, reasonable grounds to protect all such information through a proper classification under the Official Secrets Act.
  2. amanjain

    What is Confidential??

    Multiple times the PIO's have denied information saying that 'the file is confidential' or 'files relates to national security and is confidential'. This time I sought for copy of correspondence between two departments relating to Census and the PIO said 'cannot be provided as the files are confidential relating to national security'. (What surprises me is I have received such information from a similar department some time ago.) So what is the meaning of 'Confidential' of how is a file classified as 'Confidential' or matter relating to 'national security'?
  3. THIRD PARTY SECTION 11 DISCLOSURE PIO is expected to follow the procedure of Section 11 when he “intends to disclose any information or record”. This means that the PIO has come to the conclusion that the information is not exempt as per the provisions of the RTI Act. It is clearly stated at Section 11 (1) that ‘submission of third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information. The information ‘which. relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party’. Thus the procedure of Section 11 comes into effect if the PIO believes that the information exists and is not exempt, and the third party has treated it as confidential. The PIO must send a letter to the third party within 5 days of receipt of the RTI application. It only gives the third party an opportunity to voice its objections to disclosing information. The PIO will keep these in mind and denial of information can only be on the basis of exemption under Section 8 (1) of the RTI act. As per Section 11 (3), the PIO has to determine the whether the information is exempt or not and inform the appellant and the third party of his decision. If the third party wishes to appeal against the decision of the PIO, he can file an appeal under Section 19 of the Act as per the provision of Section 11 (4). Section 11 does not give a third party an unrestrained veto to refuse disclosing information. It clearly anticipates situations where the PIO will not agree with the claim for non-disclosure by a third party and provides for a appeal to be made by the third party against disclosure, which would have been unnecessary, if the third party had been given a veto against disclosure. Thus the PIO is expected to follow the procedure of Section 11, when he intends to disclose the information but has some reason to believe that the third party treats it as confidential. If the third party sends an objection, the PIO has to determine whether the information is exempt under the provisions of the Act. The salient features of this order are summarized as under: PIO is expected to follow the procedure of Section 11 when he “intends to disclose any information or record” Resorting to Section 11 means that the PIO has come to the conclusion that the information is not exempt as per the provisions of the RTI Act. The procedure under Section 11 shall be resorted to only when information ‘which. relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party’. Thus the procedure of Section 11 comes into effect if the PIO believes that the information exists and is not exempt, and the third party has treated it as confidential. It only gives the third party an opportunity to voice its objections to disclosing information and not the veto power to deny the information. The PIO will keep these objections in mind and denial of information can only be on the basis of exemption under Section 8 (1) of the RTI act. Section 11 does not give a third party an unrestrained veto to refuse disclosing information. It clearly anticipates situations where the PIO will not agree with the claim for non-disclosure by a third party and provides for a appeal to be made by the third party against disclosure, which would have been unnecessary, if the third party had been given a veto against disclosure. Sectiom 11 - CIC SG_A_2012_000773_18789.pdf
  4. I had applied to CPIO for certified copies of previous question papers. In the reply the CPIO wrote that those copies are confidential and hence cannot be provided. He didn't mention any section of RTI Act under which my copies are denied. Please help me further in to get my information.
  5. Public Authorites need to keep some information confidential for the effective functioning of the organisation. Under what provision can these documents be declared confidential? Can such documents be denied?
  6. Does Annual Confidential Report comes under RTI. If i want to see my ACR how should i approach my authorities. Please guide.
  7. As reported by Himanshi Dhawan of TNN in The Times of India, New Delhi, Aug 28 2009. Welcome - Times Of India ePaper PMO Has 28,685 Secret Files; Hasn’t Opened Even 1 To Public This Yr What steps does the government follow while deciding to declassify its old secret documents? You may never get to know since the manual that details the declassification process in the country is itself marked confidential. Meanwhile, the PMO has admitted it has 28,685 secret files but has not declassified any this year. The Indian government’s arbitrariness and complete lack of transparency regarding classified material is in sharp contrast to the international practice of making secret files public after 25-30 years. Some countries declassify their documents after just 10 years. While the government says it makes files public after 25 years, the policy remains largely on paper. In response to an RTI query, the PMO said it had declassified 37 files in 2007, 25 files in 2008 and none in 2009. However, even these declassified records cannot be accessed by a bonafide researcher, let alone an ordinary citizen, as the material continues to be housed in the PMO and has so far not been transferred to the NAI. ‘‘If the records continue to be held by PMO, there can be no access to such material. Proper and time-bound declassification is in national interest,’’ said Anuj Dhar from endthesecrecy.com. Dhar, along with Chandrachur Ghose, has been campaigning for transparency in administration through regular declassification of records. Only three files declassified by PMO in 2 years New Delhi: PMO has admitted it has 28,685 secret files but has not declassified any this year. Chandrachur Ghose campaigning for transparency in administration through regular declassification of records had filed the RTI application seeking information on the government’s declassification policy. In response, the PMO said, ‘‘Declassification of files is done as per the manual of departmental security instructions issued by the ministry of home affairs. The ministry has marked this manual as confidential and has declined to provide it.’’ The Public Record Rules, 1997, state that records that are 25 years or more must be preserved in the NAI and that no records can be destroyed without being recorded or reviewed. On paper, it’s mandatory for each department to prepare a half-yearly report on reviewing and weeding of records and submit it to the NAI. The rules also stipulate that no public records which are more than 25 years old can be destroyed by any agency unless it is appraised. RTI activists, however, complain that these rules are rarely followed. While the PMO says the declassification process is ‘‘continuous’’, its response on the number of files that have been declassified inspires little confidence. Only one file was declassified in 2005 and two in 2006. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative programme coordinator Venkatesh Nayak, who had also filed a RTI asking for the manual of departmental security instructions, was denied the information as well. The matter is at present before CIC.
  8. The Gujarat High Court has held that information officers, appointed under the RTI Act, should not share any "confidential information" against a company without hearing the views of the affected group as it may be against the spirit of the principle of natural justice. In a far-reaching judgement, the court said that the confidential information received by invoking the RTI Act, might be misused by a third party. The High Court directed the Gujarat Information Commissioner not to entertain any application of Rasiklal Mardia under the provisions of the RTI Act, concerning the Reliance Industries or its group companies for imparting or disclosing information without following due procedure under the Act. Mardia, a businessman, had submitted 55 applications under the RTI Act and sought details about Sales Tax exemption to Reliance Petrochemicals and also details about those killed when the Reliance Jamnagar refinery was constructed. The High Court also quashed the orders made by various authorities, including the State Information Commissioner, and restrained the Commissioner from proceeding further with the application of Mr Mardia, a businessman and rival of the Reliance group. The court termed the January 31 order of State Information Commissioner as illegal. While the oral judgement was delivered on August 16, the detailed 67-page order was issued by Justice D N Patel early this week. PIO should not share confidential information of company, says HC - News.Indlaw.com
  9. In the judgment F.No.CIC/AT/A/2006/00296 Dated, the 20th November, 2006. Shri A.P. Sharma Vs Cdr-At-Arms S.K.Gupta, CPIO (Navy), Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (N) it was decided that the file notings of the confidential files are exempt under Right to Information Act. The abstract of the decision is quoted here: File notings in general and in a confidential file in particular are very different from the other sections / parts of the files. These are a form of dialectics between those writing the notes, the underpinning of which is a certain trust that their contents shall not be ordinarily disclosed. If it were to be known that the file notings would be subject to disclosure, those writing these notes would have chosen to write the notes differently or chosen other means of communicating their views to the next superior or to the authority competent to take decision. Trust and a certain confidence in itsconfidentiality is, thus, the very crux of the architecture of the file noting. That said, it is also necessary to differentiate between files classified as confidential and those not so classified. Arguably in the case of an unclassified file, those recording the notes are aware that the entire file can one day be called into the public domain, or at-least, that people not otherwise authorized to have access to a file may, under certain circumstances, gain access to its contents. This is what distinguishes a classified file from an unclassified one and, supports a theoretical assumption that in respect of the notings in both these genres of files, the approach of those writing the notes can be significantly different. In case of an unclassified file the employee of a public authority records his notes with full knowledge that these could be accessed at some stage by a larger number of entities, and may even find its way into the public domain under certain given circumstances. It should therefore be assumed that the nature and the character of the fiduciary relationship between the person writing the note and the persons in the chain of command to whom the note is submitted for a decision, is markedly different in case of an unclassified file from a classified one. On the other hand, in the case of a file classified as confidential / secret or top secret, the fiduciary relationship between officers is underpinned by a certain trust as well as a certain confidence that its contents shall not be accessed by anyone not authorized to access them. Rules even provide punishment for possession of documents of classified files by unauthorized entities. The trust that characterizes file notings in confidential files is thus qualitatively different. The information contained in the notings of such classified files is given by the officer, who is also the third party, in “confidence” as described under Section 11(1) of the RTI Act. It is, therefore, my considered view that the file-notings in the case of files classified as confidential attract the exemption of Section 8(1)(j); and if in a given case it is decided to disclose notings of a confidential file, it has to be done only in terms of Section 11(1) of the RTI Act.
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