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  1. [caption id=attachment_240" align="alignright" width="203] disclosure of information to third party[/caption] If the profile of the person seeking Information, in light of other attending circumstances, leads to the construction that under the pretext of serving public interest, such person is aiming to settle personal score against the third party, it cannot be said that public interest warrants disclosure of information to third party. The Public Information Officer under Right to Information Act, while dealing with the information relating to or supplied by the third party, has to constantly bear in mind that the RTI Act does not become a tool in the hands of a busy body to settle a personal score. The Hon’ble Supreme Court vide decision dated 13/12/20012 Bihar Public Service Commission vs. Sayyed Hussain Abbas Rizvi & Anr [Civil appeal No. 9052 of 2012] has held that clause 8(1)(g) can come into play with any kind of relationship. It requires that where the disclosure of such information which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purpose, the information need not be provided. In other words if in the opinion of the concerned authority there is danger to life or possibility of danger to physical safety, the CPIO would be entitled to bring such case within the exemption of Section 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act. Husband (RTI Applicant) has filed several RTI applications with the BSNL seeking various information relating to Lady employee of BNSL with whom he appears to have a matrimonial dispute and in response to communications to her by the CPIO under Section 11 of the RTI Act, she has objected to the disclosure stating that the information is of personal nature, does not involve any public activity or interest and would cause unwarranted invasion of her privacy. She has also contended that the appellant, who asserts himself to be her husband, has criminal intent and there is a threat to her physical safety, she has claimed exemption under Section 8 (1) (g) of the RTI Act. Disclosure of information to third party Central Information Commission while deciding the case noted that "In the facts and circumstances of the matter at hand the appellant’s allegations against his estranged wife of criminal activity, owning assets disproportionate to her known sources of income, etc only demonstrate his personal bias rather than any public purpose warranting denial of statutory exemption as available to the respondent. It being so, we hold that the information sought is exempt under Section 8 (1) (g), & (j) of the RTI Act." In one such other case CIC has ruled that the fact that the appellant is the husband does not alter this legal position as the husband and wife are two separate legal entities in law and therefore, Sec.11(1) of the RTI Act is applicable. Also on another case available at our Law segment, CIC refused attempt by husband to get hold of information about his wife’s locker citing section 8(1)(d), (e) and (j) of the RTI Act, as he is the third party. In this present case Mr. Alok Sharma Vs BNSL , CIC/BS/A/2013/001026/5102 12 May 2014 the information was not disclosed to husband and it was exempt under Section 8(1) (g), & (j) of the RTI Act. The decision is available at the CIC website here! You should also read various discussions regarding Third Party Information under RTI at our forums. Do you have anything to add to this case decision, please post it at comments below.
  2. RTI applicant wife filed complaints against the RTI applicant in not one but two police stations. The Puducherry police refused to give the copy of a complaint by the appellants wife and inquiry report, on grounds of physical safety, by invoking exemption under section 8(1) (g) of the RTI Act. Central Information Commission while hearing the case recorded that "as to how the physical danger to the wife’s safety is enhanced by the appellant knowing the contents of her complaint, since the substance of her charges is already known through the contents of the complaint filed in another police station made available to him through another RTI Application". If you want to file RTI Online, do read our guide on how to file RTI online here! Further, CIC observed that "Since the inquiry by Puducherry Police is over and the Complainant is signatory to the letter by the both parties for approaching the family court, due to which inquiry was closed- clearly strengthens his claim to get a copy of the documents. The inquiry is also not required in other cases." Marital Disputes and RTI Section 8(1) (g) The Commission did not accept the grounds taken by the respondents for denial of information under Section 8(1) (g) of the RTI Act. The Commission directed SP & PIO of UT of Pondicherry to provide the information sought in the RTI. Earlier Shri V. Ayyappan, the RTI Appellant sought a copy of the complaint, filed against him by his wife in the Police station at Puducherry with the copy of enquiry report and copies of the statements given. PIO on 24.10.2012 refused to give information stating therein that the information could not be provided under the provisions of Sec 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act as disclosure of the same may endanger the life or physical safety of the appellant’s wife who resides in Puducherry. The case citation can be downloaded from the CIC website here: V. Ayyappan Vs SP UT of Pondicherry You can discuss this decision at our forum here! This is an extract of the decision available on the CIC public website, and is meant for generating interest in our readers only. For the true detailed and authentic copy you must download the decision from the CIC website!
  3. While Public Information Officer denied the information on a question asked regarding steps taken for implementation of the DOPT guidelines regarding proactive disclosure of tours of officials of the rank of Joint Secretaries and above to implement and copies of all tour orders issued and details of TA/DA paid for each of Joint Secretaries of Central Vigilance Commission by quoting Section 7(9) of the RTI Act, however, on the other hand First Appellate Authority (FAA) has brought in a totally new provision by denying information u/s 8(1)(g) by quoting a CIC decision. FAA denied the information without giving a hearing to the RTI Applicant. What are your views? Use the comments in the article to post. You can discuss it at our forum too. The Appellant had argued in front of the CIC that the FAA by doing this, has brought in a totally new provision for denial of information which is not tenable as he was not allowed an opportunity to question this and he was not given a hearing. He further submitted that the CPIO vide letter dt 2.8.13 has already provided information relating to foreign and domestic travel of officers of the rank of JS and above. When such information has already been provided, he would be satisfied if similar information is provided in respect of the remaining staff also. Can First Appellate Authority bring in fresh provisions of RTI Act to deny information? The Commission remanded the case to the FAA with directions that he should provide a hearing to the appellant in terms of the Commission’s earlier orders and to provide information in respect of queries. CIC further recorded that "We also take an adverse view of the fact that the designated CPIO/FAA of the CVC failed to attend the hearing. A copy of this order be marked to Shri Pradeep Kumar, CVC, who may like to issue appropriate orders to his officials dealing with RTI matters to ensure that officials of the CVC, of an appropriate level, attend the hearings of the Commission." While going through the CIC decision quoted by FAA case no. CIC/AT/A/2009/000100 in the case of Shri Nihar Ranjan Banerjee, CVO and Shri Bidya Nand Mishra, DGM(Vig), Coal India Ltd Vs Shri MN Ghosh, it is found that CIC while reviewing it's own order has denied the information about the tour details, vehicle logbooks, purpose of visits, overtime payments of vigilance officer on following grounds: No public interest is served by their disclosure. On the contrary, there is a distinct possibility that disclosure of this information will compromise the functioning of the Vigilance Officers ⎯ the review-petitioners ⎯ and not only expose them to physical risks and intimidations, but impair their ability to carry-out their sensitive assignments. Information should be declined within the meaning of Section 11(1) of the RTI Act During the hearing, it was submitted by the review-petitioners that the type of information which appellant had requested has always been held ⎯ insofar as it related to the officers of the Vigilance Department ⎯ as confidential within the meaning of Section 124 of the Indian Evidence Act. Section 124 of the Indian Evidence Act was designed for such contingencies and is entirely consistent with the provisions of RTI Act (Section 11(1)). Now, while the RTI Act, no-doubt, takes precedence over the Indian Evidence Act in a matter of inconsistency between their provisions, when the provisions of two Acts are consistent, the RTI Act and the Indian Evidence Act provisions should be harmoniously construed. I find that there is ample consistency between Section 124 of the Indian Evidence Act and Section 11(1) of the RTI Act read with Section 2(n) of the same Act. In the circumstances and the atmosphere in which they work and the specificity of their sensitive assignment, the requested information had the potentiality of endangering the officers’ life and their physical safety, apart from leading to identification of the source of information or assistance given in confidence for discharge of their law-enforcement functions as Vigilance Officers. (in terms of Section 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act) The citation is available here: Shri R.K. Jain Vs Central Vigilance Commission, File No: CIC/SM/A/2013/001325/RM dated 30.07.2014 You can discuss this decision at our forum here! This is an extract of the decision available on the CIC public website, and is meant for generating interest in our readers only. For the true detailed and authentic copy you must download the decision from the CIC website!
  4. [caption id=attachment_2671" align="alignright" width="424] harassment of victims of crime through RTI[/caption] Central Information Commission had to intervene in a serious case where a murder accused tried to use RTI to obtain school details of son of murdered victim. However, by the time CIC could pass and prevent disclosure, the school had not minded the security issue of the child of murdered victim and had already disclosed part of the information. CIC recorded that "They should have not given any information to the accused RTI applicant and Commission directs no further disclosure of any information in this case." The questions that were sought under the RTI application were in no way helpful to accused in a murder case. Seeking school details of son of murdered victim posed a serious security threat to the school going boy. The Commission directed the school authorities not to create security problems to the boy by giving information which can be denied u/s 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act. CIC observed that "This is a case of misuse of RTI by the accused to harass the son of victim of murder. The Commission strongly recommends the Govt. of India to take necessary steps to prevent harassment of victims of crime by accused of that crime through the RTI channel, the objective of which is not to be a tool in the hands of accused. The appeal is rejected." At our forum our members have listed many such cases of Misuse of RTI, please visit the link to read them. Case of misuse of RTI The appellant filed RTI application whereby he sought information as to one student who was lodged in St. Johns Boys Home, with regard to T.C issue by school etc. PIO replied but being unsatisfied with the reply the appellant preferred First Appeal. Having received no reply within the prescribed period, the appellant sh. Ram Avtar approached the commission in Second Appeal. During the hearing, the St.John Co­Ed Sec. School representative submitted that sh. Ram Avtar is an accused in a murder case and Rahul about whom the Appellant is seeking the information is the son of the victim. Information regarding the hostel is not available as the same is maintained by a different society. However, the information available with the school has been furnished. Prevent harassment of victims of crime through RTI The Commission took a serious note that Respondent Public Authority does not mind the security issue and ignored section 8(1)(g). They should have not given any information to the accused appellant and Commission directs no further disclosure of any information in this case. CIC further recorded that "This is a case of misuse of RTI by the accused to harass the son of victim of murder. The Commission strongly recommends the Govt. of India to take necessary steps to prevent harassment of victims of crime by accused of that crime through the RTI channel, the objective of which is not to be a tool in the hands of accused. The appeal is rejected." (The content of the article is purely taken from the decision published by CIC on its website which is accessible to all) The case is available here! If you have any questions about RTI, go to our forum here and post. If you would like to add something to this story, please post it in the comments below.
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