Applicants to Disclose interest while seeking Personal Information through RTI.
Summary-In this post we will discuss about the recent judgment of Delhi HC in which it said that whenever ‘Personal Information’ is sought under the ‘Right To Information Act, 2005’, the disclosure of applicant’s interest in the information being sought would be necessary to establish his/her bonafides.
RTI Applicants Must Disclose Interest in Seeking Info: Delhi HC
In this post we will read the about RTI encroaching the territory of privacy and the stance of judiciary on the same.
RTI is an act of parliament which seeks to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens. It simply means that a citizen can request for information from state or central government departments and offices. And such request should be processed in a timely way as mandated by the RTI Act. By using RTI people can ask relevant questions to the Government and various public utility service providers, in a practical manner. Therefore the importance of RTI is unparalleled. Right to information has always been a topic of speculation because of its nature and extent. RTI and its implication have often created headlines.
This time single-judge bench of Delhi High Court observed that the RTI applicant seeking information should disclose interest regarding any information sought and is necessary for all applications filed under RTI, to establish the applicant’s bonafide. However section 6(2) of RTI Act 2005 states contrary, it states “an applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him”.
Justice Pratibha M Singh said that non-disclosure of interest could result in injustice to those about whom information is sought. This ruling came during a petition filed challenging the decision of the Central information Commission’s refusal to disclose information on appointments made for the Multi-Tasking Staff in the President’s Secretariat.
The applicant Har Kishan sought information on the appointments; his queries relating to the residential addresses of selected candidates were rejected on grounds of safeguarding privacy. But the court found that the daughter of the applicant was also an applicant for the same position. Therefore the non-disclosure of this fact “clearly points to some ulterior motive”.
“The present writ petition is cleverly quiet about the fact that the Petitioner’s daughter had applied for being considered for appointment for the post of Multi-Tasking Staff at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The seeking of the above information, especially after the Petitioner’s daughter did not obtain employment, clearly points to some ulterior motives,” Justice Singh said while dismissing the petition. The court imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the petitioner for not revealing the fact that his daughter had also applied for the post. It said the fact does not find mention in the petition and further noted that perusal of the writ petition also shows that the petitioner himself was earlier working in the Presidential Estate on an ad-hoc basis, from 2012 to 2017.
In 2018, the applicant sought information regarding the appointments. He was provided most of the information but his specific query for information relating to residential address and father’s name of selected candidates was declines because disclosure of such information would violate the privacy of the persons and were termed “invasive”. The court also highlighted in its order that the applicant earlier filed another petition for inquiry into appointments following which 10 candidates were found to have gotten jobs on the basis of fake certificates.
“The present petition is restricted to the challenge to the impugned order passed by the CIC in the second appeal, which relates only to the RTI application of the Petitioner. This Court, in this case, is thus not going into the said investigation report of the Committee,” reads the order.
This post is written by Abhishek Pathak
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