Information in respect of an Advocate like documents submitted while taking Sanad, I.D. Number, verification etc. was denied u/s 8(1)(j) - FAA: Enrolment Form was in the custody of the then Secretary and became untraceable - CIC: No infirmity in response
Information sought and background of the case:
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated14.09.2018 seeking information on following 03 points in respect of Chitra Anant Salunkhe, Advocate Sanad from 2000 till date:-
1. Furnishing documents at the time of taking Sanad
2. For I.D. Number
3. 2015 to 2016 at the time of verification produced documents, Degree, documents of LLB of which Bar.
The Appellant filed a First Appeal challenging the PIO’s reply dated 13.10.2018, but a copy of the reply has not been enclosed.
Feeling aggrieved over non receipt of the information, the Appellant approached the State Information Commission with a Second Appeal dated 07.12.2018, which was forwarded to this Commission vide letter dated 12.12.2018 by the SIC, Maharashtra.
Facts emerging in Course of Hearing:
A written submission has been received from CPIO, Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa vide letter dated 20.04.2021, stating therein that the RTI application dated 14.09.2018, was duly replied to vide letter dated 13.10.2018 providing the information about Adv. Chitra Anant Salunke, as sought by the Appellant, though documents submitted by the said Advocate were denied from disclosure under Section 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. of the RTI Act. The First Appeal was also partly allowed vide order dated 08.03.2019 with direction to the PIO to supply a copy of Enrolment Form of the said Advocate. In terms of the FAA’s direction, Appellant was duly informed vide communication dated 09.04.2019 that the Enrolment Form of the said Advocate was in the custody of the then Secretary on 19.04.2007 and thereafter became untraceable. Appellant was informed that if the Form is found, the same shall be provided to her. Copies of all documents mentioned in the submissions and relied upon by the Respondent have been duly annexed by the Respondent.
In order to ensure social distancing and prevent the spread of the pandemic, COVID-19, hearing through audio conference was scheduled after giving prior notice to both the parties. The Appellant did not participate in the virtual hearing nor has she sent any submissions upon receiving the hearing notice. Respondent is heard through audio conference and reiterated the submissions dated 20.04.2021, mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
In the light of the submissions received from the Respondent, it is evident that information, as permissible under the RTI Act had been provided vide reply dated 13.10.2018, copy whereof has been perused by the Commission. The PIO’s reply as well as the FAA’s order have not been disclosed by the Appellant. However, no infirmity is found with the responses of the PIO and the FAA. Appellant has not appeared to contest her case, nor sent any written submissions despite service of hearing notice.
Under the circumstances, the Commission is not inclined to pass any further directions in this case. The appeal is disposed off as such.
Y. K. Sinha
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa v. Second Appeal No. CIC/BCOI/A/2019/100805 in Second Appeal No. CIC/BCOI/A/2019/100805, Date of Decision: 27.04.2021