Are the assets and liabilities of an individual covered under personal information?
The appellant had sought the copies of the statements of assets and liabilities of a particular employee of the bank. The PIO refused to disclose the information on the ground that it was the third party personal information and exempt from disclosure under 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 Right to Information (RTI) Act. On appeal, the Appellate Authority had endorsed the decision of the PIO.
View of CIC
The Appellant referred to some orders passed by the CIC in the past as well as to some orders passed by the Madras High Court and argued that the property returns filed by public servants could not be classified as personal information. The Commission held that such information can be disclosed only when it would serve a larger public interest. The Commission rejected the appeal observing that the disclosure of the statement of assets and liabilities of an employee of the bank can result in the unwarranted invasion of his privacy and, therefore, should not be ordinarily disclosed.
In a number of decisions, the CIC has held that employees working in the government and government owned organizations are required to mandatorily furnish annual property returns just as it is a fact that they have to produce medical bills for reimbursement of expenses incurred in treatment of diseases. The element of compulsion does not make either of these categories of information any less personal.
Citation: Mr. V.K.Sharma v. Bank of Baroda in file no. CIC/SM/A/2011/000558
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/100
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