Can mediation proceedings of the court be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Delhi High Court seeking details of the mediation proceedings in a particular bail application. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information citing Rule 20 of the Mediation and Conciliation Rules according to which such information was to be kept confidential and not divulged to anyone including any court or authority.
During the hearing the before Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that the Delhi High Court had framed the Mediation and Conciliation Rules in exercise of the rulemaking power under Part X of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908 in order to encourage settlement of disputes through mediation and conciliation. The respondent also submitted that the essence of any mediation or conciliation process is its confidentiality and if it would be disclosed then the interests of the parties to the mediation or conciliation could be severely compromised and no one would be interested in resorting to this process. The respondent also cited exemption provisions section 8(1)(d) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; and 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 on the ground that the information is in the nature of commercial confidence and personal.
View of CIC
The Commission accepted the contentions of respondent and held that the mediation proceedings were held among parties in confidence and such information has no relation to any public activity or interest.
Citation: Mr. Pankaj Sharma v. Delhi High Court in File No. CIC/WB/A/2010/000532SM
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1200
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission