Can 20 years old record be denied for being personal or commercially confidential?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Bank of Baroda seeking copy of inspection report of a particular company. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided information to the appellant. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) denied the information under sections 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. and 8(1)(d) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; of the RTI Act stating that it was personal information and was privileged/ commercially confidential in nature.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant stated that he had sought information about an investigation report of 11.9.1993. He argued that the same was denied to him mechanically and without application of as documents of more than 20 years age cannot continue to remain confidential. He added that the enquiry itself was completed in the year 1999. On hearing the discussions, the respondent stated that the matter needs a relook.
View of CIC
The Commission directed the respondent to provide the information sought to the appellant.
In cases of information older than 20 years, only subsection (a), (c) and (i) of section 8(1) of the RTI Act can be invoked for denying information.
Citation: Mr. Jagdish Ranganath v. Bank of Baroda in Decision No. CIC/SM/A/2011/002747/01575
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1013
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission