Are the call details of the officers of Prasar Bharati their personal information?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Prasar Bharati, seeking phone call details of a landline and a cell phone which were used by a particular officer. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided the copies of the phone bills running into 96 pages against the payment of photocopying charges.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that he wanted the call details and the list of all the numbers to which calls had been made locally or through roaming. The respondent submitted that they only received the bills but without the call details and that was what the PIO had already provided. They also clarified that the officer concerned using these two telephone numbers was entitled to certain ceiling in the use of the phones and the reimbursement for the telephone bills was limited to that ceiling.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the organization receives only the summary telephone bills without the call details and therefore the PIO could not provide the call details because those are simply not available with the organization. Noting that the appellant expects the organization should summon such records from the service providers and provide to him, the Commission held that the PIO is not expected to generate the information about the call details and make it available under the RTI Act. The Commission also noted the view of the respondent that the entitlement of the officer concerned using these phones is a limited only to certain ceiling beyond which all payments have to be made by him and not by the organization and the telephone calls made by him are to an extent his personal information. The CIC ruled that disclosing the details of those calls would not serve any particular public interest nor is it connected with any public activity and hence was exempt for 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 RTI Act.
Citation: Mr. Sunil Kalsi v. Prasar Bharati in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001362
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1239
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission