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RTI News-Another threat to RTI. Now from the Data Privacy panel


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The Justice Srikrishna panel on data protection has called for amending the Right to Information Act to restrict non-disclosure of information only in cases where harm to an individual outweighs the common good of transparency and accountability in the fu

In its 213-page report (external link) that calls for a new legislation to protect an individual's right over his data, the committee said neither the right to privacy nor the right to information is absolute and the two will have to be balanced against each other in some circumstances.

The panel said data protection law is designed to limit the processing of personal data to legitimate reasons and adds there is a conflict between transparency and privacy. 


The panel said a lot of information sought from a public authority may contain personal data of some kind or another.

"Further a strict interpretation of purpose limitation may give rise to the inference that any disclosure other than for the purpose for which the personal data was submitted would lead to an unwarranted invasion of privacy," it said.

"To avoid this predicament, the RTI Act must specifically spell out the circumstances in which disclosure of such personal information would be a proportionate restriction on privacy having regard to the object of the RTI Act in promoting transparency and accountability in public administration.

"This must be done keeping in mind the fact that the RTI Act generally leans in favour of disclosure of information," it said. 

"Therefore, in addition to the likelihood of harm, disclosure should be restricted only where any likely harm outweighs the common good of transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities," the report said.

It proposed that the RTI Act be amended to state that 'nothing contained in the data protection bill will apply to the disclosure' so as to 'prevent privacy from becoming a stonewalling tactic to hinder transparency'. The Committee said that such a formulation offers a more precise balancing test in reconciling the two rights and upholding the spirit of the RTI Act without compromising the intent of the data protection bill.

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Just I was reading the attached document brought up by  Central Information Commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu who has noted in a letter to all the other CICs, including chief R.K. Mathur indicating 10 points how beurocracy would be misuse the law.https://thewire.in/government/draft-data-protection-bill-gives-corrupt-officers-10-ways-to-escape-rti-scrutiny/amp/

Edited by garg0505
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17.The commissioEvery one speaks of constitutional rights, though as an official he is not aware as how to treat a citizen appearing before them as Appellant.  The attitude is like a Primary school head master controlling his pupils.

Most of the PIOs that receive less than 15 RTI applications per annum , are quoting the following decisions for denying information under RTI, if  certified copy basing on which information was provided.  Whether it is  proper or not can be decided only during second appeal decisions after two years.  But appellants should live to wait for such CIC decisions.

16. Any citizen has right to information only once and not repeatedly.

16.Repeated RTI Applications amounts to clogging the office of public authority and CPIO  would be right in refusing the same with intimation.

17.The commission believes that it can record the fact of abuse of RTI Act 2005 and notify the admonition, direct / recommend applicants not to resort to abuse any more and directly recommend public authorities to refuse them.   If any applicant resorts to three such repeated applications, the commission may even recommend blocking of such abuse and direct the public authority not to entertain the same applicant any more, which has again to be notified.


The proverb 'devil quoting the scriptures is right when those who do not care for common men speak of the constitution and it's rights.  Every stakeholder is contributing for killing RTI..  Read through such decisions of those who cry 'foul', you do not find any sanctity in their decisions or respect to RTI Act or equity.   Publicity, publicity and you can get only when you raise your voice against ruling government.  What about other Information Commissioners in the entire country,  can not they speak or having courage?


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This is true in the circumstances you discuss is very vital and really barring few I/C have gutts to implement the RTI act in true spirit which was crafted keeping in view transparency in Government working but neither executive nor political class remains to be accountable.?

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Let us be honest.  An  applicant is more worried about his single case.  ICs crave for publicity decisions.  There is nothing one can do if PIO do not want to provide any information, one has to wait for minimum of two years for getting a decision.   It is not always possible to endlessly wait for two years for decision.  After observing all this, Hon. Karira who was very vocal and  most active participant, promoted this forum now became more pessimistic and stated that everything is ready and only cremation is due.  When no one can made parties bring within definition of Public Authority, when those personal information on public servant on corruption matters became a matter between employer and employee, what can you make.   The inititial enthusiasm and spirit died long back.  Just we can only express sorry for the state of affairs.  There are still who still wish to get publicity, and there are still who is having hope that they can revive the old spirit.  But, I am a pessimistic man, and believe that no party is really interested in RTI any more when they are in power.

Let iu not blame one party alone.  Unless the  penalties are made mandatory and FAA is made accountable, you bring hundred changes, it can never work.  Do not think that those who are successful in bringing out have done on their own, they have support from insiders and encouragement from rulers and they have their own influence.  Without any of the three a common's success is one percent.  Even when both CIC/HC/SC stated as to when and how denials are to be made with justification, still you find the same PIOs denying information, knowing that they are denials are not proper, even after appellant clarifies with such authentic clarification.

The show must  go on..  Read atleast one decision, and you can find that in rare cases only appellant is successful and those who are successful are fortunate. 

It is another issue, as to how that information was put to logical end.

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Above details are the details of letter written by  Central Information Commissioner M. Sridhar Acharyulu who has noted in a letter to all the other CICs, including chief R.K. Mathur indicating 10 points how beurocracy would be misuse the amended law.

Edited by garg0505
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