PIO is not obliged to provide the information already available in public domain
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Department of Official Language seeking information pertaining to essential qualifications prescribed for appointment of Junior Hindi Translator. The Public Information Officer (PIO), MHA transferred the RTI application to the PIO Staff Selection Commission (SSC). The PIO SSC returned back the RTI application to the PIO, MHA Department of Official Language stating that the information sought by the appellant pertained to the Gazette Notification issued by the Department of Official Language. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) held that the appellant has sought clarification pertaining to the appointment of Junior Hindi Translators, which do not fall within the ambit of the definition of “information” as defined under section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act, 2005.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that after further investigation it was found that the appellant had sought the information by giving example of the mark-sheet of a person and sought interpretation on Schedule V and VII of the Gazette Notification issued by the Department of Official Language where essential qualifications for the post of Junior Hindi Translator has been provided. The information was denied to the appellant under the section 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, being third party information.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the appellant has sought interpretation on the essential qualifications for appointment to the post of Junior Hindi Translator. The essential qualifications were already available in the public domain i.e. Gazette Notification issued by the Department of Official Language. The CIC held that the respondents were not expected under the RTI Act to provide any interpretation on the information provided. The CIC ruled that the respondent can only provide information as per records held by them and rejected the appeal.
Citation: Mr. G.C. Sharma v. Ministry of Home Affairs and Department of Official Language in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/001612
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/755
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission