Alleging adultery & conspiracy, transcripts of calls & SMS details of some mobile numbers were asked - CIC: no entitlement to access third party information just because it is held by a public authority; relationship between individuals is a private issue
Alleging adultery and conspiracy, the transcripts of calls and SMS details of some mobile numbers were sought - CIC: Merely because information that may be personal to a third party is held by a public authority, a querist does not become entitled to access it, unless the said personal information has a relationship to a public activity of the third person (to whom it relates) or to public interest ; the estranged relationship between the appellant and his wife is a private matter and no public interest is involved
The applicant has sought the information regarding the exact location map, SMS, recording of calling of mobile no. 9422129412, 9422141139, 9404342155, 9579335664 used by accused persons for committing offence, in criminal Complaint case No.2116/11, for the offence u/s 497 of IPC, pending J.M.F.C. Court No.3, Nagpur.
Grounds for the Second Appeal: The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing: The following were present
Appellant: Mr. Sushil through VC
Respondent: Mr. D P Singh PIO, DoT & Mr. H S Rawat ACPIO BSNL New Delhi
The appellant stated that his wife has committed adultery and hatched a conspiracy against him and has involved him in a false case. Hence he seeks the transcripts of calls and SMS details of the mobile numbers mentioned in his RTI application dated 24/3/2012. The ACPIO stated that two of the mobile phones for which the information is sought do not relate to the BSNL and the remaining three belong to third party and they had carried out the process as outlined under Section 11 of the RTI Act but the third party has objected to the disclosure.
While deciding the case of TRAI vs. Yashpal [W.P.(C) 2794/2012] wherein a father-in-law had sought similar information relating to the call/SMS details of his daughter-in-law’s mobile number, the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi vide decision dated 25.10.2013 has held as follows: “ 6. With whom a subscriber communicates and what messages he sends or receives are the personal affairs of a subscriber, disclosure of which is bound to impinge on his privacy. The information sought by the respondent, therefore, was personal information of a third party, exempt from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act…..” Merely because information that may be personal to a third party is held by a public authority, a querist does not become entitled to access it, unless the said personal information has a relationship to a public activity of the third person (to whom it relates) or to public interest. The estranged relationship between the appellant and his wife is a private matter and no public interest is involved. Hence, the Commission sees no reason to interfere with the FAA’s order dated 11/07/2012. The matter is closed.
Citation: Mr. Sushil S/o Mr. Vikramrao Tathe v. Department of Telecommunication in File No. CIC/BS/A/2013/000090/4410