Can documents related to outsourced work be sought under RTI?
The appellant sought the details about the list of marks/grades scored by selected candidates under the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Young Scholar’s Award Scheme from the year 2008 to 2011 along with the test papers with their answer keys from the year 2008 to 2011.The Public Information Officer (PIO) replied that the information was not available as the examination was outsourced to an independent and autonomous body Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS). The respondent explained that the RBI Young Scholar Award Scheme was conducted by the RBI in which students after 12th pre-graduation were selected and given assignments/projects in various RBI offices for two to three months. The PIO further stated that the information regarding the test was available with IBPS which was a private contractor and hence the information was not with the RBI.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) noted that if IBPS was a contractor through whom the scholarship tests were conducted, information on the tests was certainly information which can be accessed by RBI as it is certainly within the control of RBI. The Commission directed the PIO to obtain the information from IBPS and provide it to the appellant. In case the IBPS refused to part with the information, the Commission ruled that the PIO should send the refusal copy to the appellant and under Section 25(5) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, gave a recommendation to the RBI Governor not to assign such work to IBPS in future.
If public authorities outsource any work like selection of candidates to private parties who have no accountability to the citizens, it is against the norms of accountability and transparency set up by the Parliament. A public authority cannot claim that the documents available with the agency to whom the work has been outsourced are not held by it.
Citation: Mr. Rajhans Trehan Chandralok v. Reserve Bank of India, Institute of Banking Personnel Selection in Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2012/000937/19031
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/570
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