CIC: Severing the name and designation of any officer can be done u/s 10 of the RTI Act to protect the identity of the officer who has given his comments; PIO was within his power to mask the name & designation of the officer while providing the enclosure
The appellant has sought the following information:
1. Provide copy of the approval of the Competent Authority for issue of letter no. CHO (HR)/DP/38/01/2017/270 dated 09.04.2019, signed by Mr. A. Durga Prasad, Manager (HR), SPMCIL.
2. Provide a copy of the approval of the Competent Authority for issue of refer letter no. CHO (HR)/DP/38/02/2017/2348 dated 12.07.2019 signed by Mr. A. Durga Prasad, Manager (HR) of SPMCIL.
3. Provide a copy of the approval of the Competent Authority for issue of letter No. CHO (HR)/DP/38/02/2017/2736 dated 10.08.2018, signed by Mr.B.J. Gupta, Addl. GM (HR) of SPMCIL.
4. And other related information.
Grounds for Second Appeal
The CPIO did not provide the desired information.
Submissions made by Appellant and Respondent during Hearing:
The appellant submitted that he is not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO as the desired information was not given to him. During the hearing, he submitted that the letter given to him on 15.07.2021 is incomplete as name & designation of the officer was masked. He also submitted that point no. 11 of the judgement of Hon’ble Delhi High Court decision dated 07.10.2013, WP (C) 4079/2013, UPSC Vs. G.S. Sandhu referred to by the FAA in his order dated 15.07.2021 is totally irrelevant to his case.
The CPIO submitted that appropriate replies were given to the appellant on 11.06.2021 & 15.07.2021. He also reiterated the contents of his submissions dated 15.06.2022.
From a perusal of the relevant case records, it is noted that on points no. 4 & 5, the available information in the form of some enclosures were given to the appellant on 15.07.2021. It is brought to the notice of the appellant that severing the name and designation of any officer can be done u/s 10 of the RTI Act in order to protect the identity of the officer who has given his comments and therefore the CPIO was within his power to mask the name & designation of the officer while providing a copy of the enclosure to the appellant.
With regard to point no. 6, vide the letter dated 11.06.2021, the information was correctly denied u/s 8(1)(g) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes; of the RTI act and for point no. 7 it was stated that the query is not covered u/s 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 There is no flaw in the reply given on these points. On a query to the CPIO as to whether any reply was given on points no. 1 , 2 & 3, he submitted that a reply was given on 23.06.2021 whereby all the relevant annexures were given to him.
With regard to the relevance of the judgment referred to by the appellant in the matter of UPSC Vs. G.S. Sandhu, what can be gathered is that the FAA focussed on the fact that in order to protect the identity of the author of the noting, the name, designation or any other indication can be severed and therefore, the judgment is relevant to the case.
Having said so, it is noted that there is no flaw in any of the replies of the CPIO, hence, no further relief can be given.
In view of the above, no action lies.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Satish Ashok Sherkhane v Security Printing & Minting Corporation of India Ltd in File no.: CIC/SPMCO/A/2021/635370, Date of Decision: 16/06/2022