Information regarding the appointment of two bank officials and details of the assets held by them & their family members were sought - CIC: allegation against officials having assets beyond their income cannot become the basis of larger public interest
These files contain appeals in respect of two RTI applications, both dated 28.3.2013, in which the Appellant had sought information regarding the date of appointment of two officials of the bank to its Regional Office, together with information regarding the total salary payments made to them; as well as information concerning the assets held by these officials and their family members. In both the cases, the CPIO provided information regarding the date of appointment of the concerned officials in the Regional Office and their pay scale. He denied information concerning the assets of these officials and their family members. Not satisfied with the response of the Respondents, the Appellant approached the CIC in second appeals in both the cases.
2. We heard the submissions of the Appellant and the Respondents. The Respondents reiterated the reply of the CPIO in both the cases. The Appellant alleged that both the officials, about whom information were sought, have assets far in excess of their income. He further submitted that he had sought the information in the above context.
3. We have considered the records and the submissions made by both the parties before us. We note that the CPIO has provided the date of appointment. He has also provided information concerning the pay scale of both the officials, this being the information which every public authority is required to disclose in terms of Section 4 (b) (x) of the RTI Act. As far as the information regarding assets is concerned, 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.:“
12. The petitioner herein sought for copies of all memos, show cause notices and censure/punishment awarded to the third respondent from his employer and also details viz. movable and immovable properties and also the details of his investments, lending and borrowing from Banks and other financial institutions. Further, he has also sought for the details of gifts stated to have accepted by the third respondent, his family members and friends and relatives at the marriage of his son. The information mostly sought for finds a place in the income tax returns of the third respondent. The question that has come up for consideration is whether the abovementioned information sought for qualifies to be "personal information" as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act.”
“14. The details disclosed by a person in his income tax returns are" personal information" which stand exempted from disclosure under clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, unless involves a larger public interest and 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.”
The Appellant has not established any larger public interest, warranting disclosure of the information concerning the assets of the two officials and their family members, sought by him. His unsubstantiated allegation regarding the two officials having assets beyond their income cannot become the basis of larger public interest.
4. In view of the foregoing, we uphold the decision of the CPIO on both the RTI applications.
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 Arvind Mishra v. Central Bank of India in File No. CIC/VS/A/2013/001970/SH File No. CIC/VS/A/2013/001976/SH