Can a complaint filed with the police be termed as third party information?
The appellant’s former daughter in law had filed a complaint with the police. The appellant filed an application under RTI seeking a copy of documents in relation to the complaint. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied for the documents stating that the document fall under the category of personal information of third party as per section 11 of the RTI Act and that the third party did not agree to supply her personal information to the appellant. However, a copy of the final report was provided to the appellant. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) held that the PIO adopted the provisions of section 11 of the RTI Act but the third party denied the same mentioning that the information was personal and confidential in nature and disclosure would not serve any public interest. She also mentioned that the contents of information sought were already within the knowledge of the applicant and her marriage with appellant’s son stands dissolved vide order passed by the competent Court.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that as part of mutual settlement for closure of complaint, a compromise was reached between the parties i.e. the former daughter-in-law and son of the appellant. In terms of this mutual settlement, his former daughter-in-law agreed for closure of complaint filed in CAW Cell. The mutual settlement was signed by his daughter-in-law and his son and that he himself had signed the documents as one of the witnesses.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) rejected the appeal observing that the complaint filed by appellant’s former daughter in law has been closed by the respondent on the basis of mutual settlement and since the matter has been closed by the Police, the complaint filed by the former daughter in law cannot be provided to the appellant in view of section 8(i)(j) read with section 11(2) of the RTI Act. Further, the appellant had failed to establish larger public interest for the disclosure of information.
The view taken by the CIC for disclosure of the copy of the complaint has varied from case to case and a clear stand is yet to emerge.
Citation: Wg. Cdr. Avinash Surma (Rtd).v. Delhi Police in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2011/001623
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/346
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission