Can the letter received from the third party objecting to providing information be disclosed?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Southern Railway seeking the travel details of two people for the period 2009 to 2012 such as the details of booking, cancellation and mode of booking /cancellation. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information stating that the information pertains to third party and that the third party’s submission is being called for. The appellant filed the first appeal and submitted that one of the people was his wife and the other was his wife’s relative. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) informed the applicant once again that information belongs to third party and that it cannot be disclosed as both the third parties have denied the disclosure. The FAA also stated that the disclosure has no relation with any public activity or interest.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that information was denied under section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act and that the disclosure has no relation with any public interest or activity. The respondent also stated that the third parties had requested that information related to their travel not be disclosed to the appellant as it is personal in nature. The appellant, at this stage, sought the copies of the letters received from the third parties, denying the disclosure of information.
View of CIC
The Commission accepted the averments of the FAA and rejected the appeal. The Commission however, directed the PIO to provide the copies of the objection letters received from the third parties to the appellant.
The letters written by the third party is a new piece of information which can be sought by the applicant. The PIO should take a decision depending upon the facts of the case and the exemption provisions.
Citation: Mr. C D Karthikeyan v. Southern Railway in File No: CIC/AD/A/2012/001886
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/736
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission