Are all the judicial records exempt from disclosure under the RTI Act?
The appellant sought the copy of the complete case file including order sheets and judgment in Revision Petition No. 914 of 2010 titled which was decided on 17/03/2010 by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). The PIO informed that judicial documents cannot be provided to third parties like the Appellant, who was not involved in the said revision petition case. The PIO relied on an order dated 18/09/2007 passed by the CIC in Appeal No. CIC/AT/A/2006/00586 titled as ‘Rakesh Kumar Gupta vs. ITAT’. The FAA upheld the PIO decision but offered the appellant an option to inspect the judicial file of the said revision petition.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission observed that the appellant is third-party seeking information relating to court proceedings which involved other individuals or persons who has personal interest in the said case. The Commission held that Section 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 exempts the disclosure of such information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest unless a larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information. The Commission further held that the appellant was failed to show how the information in the nature of entire case file of such decided case will yield larger public interest or how the disclosure of such case records will have any relationship to any public activity or interest. The Commission ruled disclosure of such case records to the appellant will cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of those parties who were directly involved as contesting parties in the said decided case before the NCDRC and is therefore exempt from disclosure under section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act.
Section 8 (1) (b) of the RTI Act exempts the disclosure of such information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any Court of law or tribunal or disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court. As per Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the word “Court” includes all Judges and Magistrates, and all persons, except arbitrators, legally authorized to take evidence and tribunals and commissions such the NCDRC are covered within the ambit of the term “Court”. There is nothing in the consumer protection Regulations, 2005 which “expressly” debars the disclosure of information related to proceedings before NCDRC to third-parties.
Citation: Ms. Iqbal Kaur v. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in file no. CIC/SS/A/2011/001364
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/102
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