Are the details of suspension order and charge-sheet liable for disclosure?
The appellant sought information regarding charge sheets issued to officers and details consequent to this for the period 1995 onwards. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information claiming that the sought information is personal information, the disclosure of which has no relation to any public activity or interest and the disclosure of it would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individuals which is exempted under Rule 8 (1) (j) of RTI Act.
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During the hearing the respondent (PIO) submitted that the records from 1995 onwards would not be accessible and the information would be available only from 2006 onwards. The Central Information Commission observed that Parliament has not codified the right to privacy so far, hence in balancing the Right to Information of Citizens and the individual's Right to Privacy the Citizen's Right to Information would be given greater weightage. The Supreme Court of India has ruled that Citizens have a right to know about charges against candidates for elections as well as details of their assets, since they desire to offer themselves for public service. It means that those who are public servants cannot claim exemption from disclosure of charges against them or details of their assets. Therefore, the PIO was directed to provide the information sought by the appellant from the year 2006 onwards.
The orders of the different bench of CIC have been contradictory in respect of the privacy. All matters related to a charge-sheet, especially when a person has been exonerated, need not be in the public domain unless there is a larger public interest.
Citation: Mr. N David Vijay Kumar v The Pallavan Gram Bank, Indian Bank in File No. CIC/SG/A/2012/000189
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/188
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