PIO: Appellant to intimate the purpose for seeking documents; The information sought is not related to public interest and disclosure is against the Official Secret Act, 1923 - CIC: This reply is grossly improper; PIO advised to remain careful in future
The Appellant has sought the following information:
1. Provide the copies of attendance sheet or attendance register of the lift operators who had been working during the specific period from 01.05.2001 to 30.11.2006 in RDC, SASE, Plot No. 1, Sector 37-A, Chandigarh.
2. Provide name of the lift operator and name of his father with reference to point 1above.
3. Provide the proof of engagement and payment of salary with breakup of salary to the lift operators, with reference to point 1 above.
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 the CPIO and the FAA had deliberately denied to provide the sought for information. During the hearing, he submitted that in the CPIO’s reply, there was no mention as to whether the reply was given by the CPIO or the FAA. He also referred to an order passed by the Commission in File No. CIC/MESER/A/2018/168728 dated 28.12.2020 and submitted that since the CPIO was asked to provide the desired information to the appellant in that case, parity may be followed and in his case also, the CPIO may be directed to provide the sought for information. The CPIO submitted that an appropriate reply was given to the appellant on 06.03.2021.
Based on a perusal of the record, it is noted that the CPIO vide letter dated 06.03.2021 had requested the appellant to intimate the purpose for seeking documents related to third party information while informing him that as the information sought is not related to public interest to provide the same being related to sensitive defence installations and disclosure is against the Official Secret Act, 1923. This reply is grossly improper as under the provisions of the RTI Act, the appellant is not required to mention/specify the purpose of seeking the information.
However, what is noted is that on point no. 1, the information sought is very old, almost 20 years old and the information sought on the rest of the points is exempted from disclosure u/s 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act, being related to third parties. Hence, no relief can be given.
With regard to the order relied upon by the appellant, it is brought to the notice of the appellant that the information sought therein was entirely different and therefore the request of the appellant for parity in providing the cannot be accepted. However, the CPIO should remain careful while handling the RTI application to ensure that the reply should contain the designation of the officer who has given a reply and the details of the FAA should invariably be there.
In view of the above, the concerned CPIO is advised to remain careful in future and ensure that proper replies as per the provisions of the RTI Act are provided to every applicant.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Vanaja N. Sarna
Citation: Surinder Singh v. Military Engineer Service in File no.: CIC/MESER/A/2021/119737, Date of Decision: 01/09/2022