Can the legal opinion received by the Public Authority be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd seeking the details of the enquiry conducted regarding a particular policy. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information under section 8(1)(e) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; and 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; of the RTI Act.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant informed of a Head Office communication to the Regional Office that the competent authority had instructed to file LPA against the advocate in the bar Council for appropriate action before the division bench, Patna High Court. However, instead of acting as per this direction, the Regional Office filed a Civil Review (CR). The appellant further submitted that he wants the information regarding the basis on which CR was filed along with a copy of the advocate’s opinion to file CR instead of LPA. The respondent submitted that this action was taken on the basis of the advice received from the legal counsel.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) held that disclosure of the legal opinion would not harm the interests of the Public Authority and directed the PIO to provide a copy of the letter addressed to head office informing them that CR was been filed on the basis of legal opinion along with a copy of the advocate’s opinion to file CR.
Citation: Shri Malay Kumar Lala v The Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd in Appeal No. CIC/DS/A/2011/001304
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/576
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission