Appellant in another appeal sought explanation for certain acts of commission and omission of the respondents - CIC: the queries are in the nature of seeking an explanation from the PIO & do not fall within the ambit of information as per section 2(f)
1. These files contain appeals in respect of the RTI applications dated 21.12.2013 and 17.12.2013 filed by the Appellant, seeking information on various issues. Not satisfied with the response of the Respondents, he has approached the CIC in second appeal in both the cases.
2. With regard to the RTI application dated 21.12.2013 (File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/000730), the Appellant submitted that he was AGM in the Kalba Devi, Mumbai Branch of the bank and was dismissed from the service of the bank following disciplinary proceedings. He further submitted that he has challenged his dismissal in the High Court. He stated that an amount of Rs. 1.5 crores was released as loan by another branch of the bank to a borrower without due diligence. The matter was investigated by the CBI and a chargesheet was filed in a CBI Court in Delhi. According to the Appellant, he was a witness in this case. He submitted that he filed a complaint against the Chief Manager, who had released the above amount of loan and in the RTI application dated 21.12.2013, enquired about the action taken on the complaint and findings of the investigation report concerning the same. In this context, he submitted that while he was dismissed from the service of the bank without any justification, he believes that the bank has not taken a strong stand against the Chief Manager, who was responsible for disbursal of the above loan of Rs. 1.5 crores. The Respondents submitted that the complaint of the Appellant was received by them through the CVC. The matter was investigated and a response was sent to the CVC on 26.2.2015. The CVC has raised some further queries. Their communication in this regard was received by the bank on 27.4.2015 and the matter is being processed to send a reply to the CVC. The Respondents further submitted that they have sent some information, concerning the action taken on the complaint of the Appellant, vide their letter dated 30.4.2015. The Appellant stated that he did not receive the above letter. The Respondents gave him a copy of the same during the hearing.
3. We have considered the records and the submissions made before us and note that the Appellant has sought information regarding action taken against a third party officer of the bank. In this context, we note the following observations of the Supreme Court in its judgment dated 3.10.2012 in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs. Central Information Commissioner & Ors.:
“13. We are in agreement with the CIC and the courts below that the details called for by the petitioner i.e. copies of all memos issued to the third respondent, show cause notices and orders of censure/punishment etc. are qualified to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The performance of an employee/officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression "personal information", the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On the other hand, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual. Of course, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed but the petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right.”
The Appellant has not established any larger public interest for disclosure to him of the details of the action taken against the third party officer. His belief that the bank has not been strict enough with the officer concerned cannot become the ground of larger public interest. However, since he filed a complaint against the officer concerned, he is entitled to be informed about the status of that complaint and the Respondents have done so vide their letter dated 30.4.2015. In view of the foregoing, intervention by the Commission is not considered necessary in this matter.
4. Regarding the RTI application dated 17.12.2013 (File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/000732), the Appellant stated that he was not satisfied with the reply given by the CPIO on 29.1.2014. On perusing the records, we note that the CPIO gave pointwise reply in his letter dated 29.1.2014. We further note that in most of the queries of the above mentioned RTI application, the Appellant sought explanation for certain acts of omission and commission on the part of the Respondents. He argued during the hearing that he needs this information to bolster his case, challenging his dismissal, before the High Court. However, we are of the view that the queries in the nature of seeking an explanation from the CPIO do not fall within the ambit of information as defined in Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act. The CPIO has responded to a few queries, which do not fall in the above category. Therefore, intervention by the Commission is not considered necessary in this case also.
5. With the above observations, the two appeals are disposed of.
6. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Anil Sahi v. Oriental Bank of Commerce in File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/000730 File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/000732