Can the copy of thesis be obtained under the RTI Act?
The applicant sought the copy of the thesis of third party. The PIO refused to provide it as it comes under the Copyright Act. The Appellate Authority upheld the decision stating that the sought information is exempt from under 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; and Section 9 of the RTI Act. During the hearing, the appellant submitted the copy of publication from the thesis and sought for the copy of entire thesis.
View of the CIC
The Commission denied the sought information observing that the disclosure of the requested information is not allowed under the provisions of Section 9 of the RTI Act, which clearly says that providing access to any such information would involve an infringement of copyright subsisting in a person other than the State.
Thesis is an original work and thus an author’s intellectual property. The author has the copyright of such work and it is, therefore, exempt from disclosure under section 9 of the RTI Act.
Citation: Shri Gurbaksh Singh v. Punjab University in CIC/DS/A/2011/001837.