Breach of privilege of the Parliament Legislature exempt from disclosure under RTI
An application was filed with the Lok Sabha secretariat seeking to get the details of communication between Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar and the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj on the matter of appointment of Lok Sabha secretary general. The application also sought to get all communication between the Speaker and the Prime Minister in the past three years.
In the reply, the Lok Sabha secretariat provided the letter written by the leader of opposition to Lok Sabha speaker protesting against the appointment but didn’t provide the copy of reply sent by the speaker and the communications between the speaker and the Prime Minister.
The matter was brought before the Central Information Commission (CIC) by the RTI applicant Subhash Aggarwal through an appeal. The CIC upheld the view of the Lok Sabha secretariat and observed that information which leads to breach of privilege of the Parliament attracts Section 8 of the RTI Act. The CIC, however, left the decision whether to provide information under RTI or not on the discretion of the chairperson of respective houses. The RTI activists have criticised the decision of the CIC and have commented that the decision of disclosure should not be left to the free will of the Chairperson of the house. The decision of the Chairperson should be open to scrutiny by the CIC.