Can a PIO take two different stands in respect of similar applications?
The appellant sought information about the amounts and dates on which Smt. Kawaljit Kaur (employee code no. 174649), retd. Jr. Asst was paid commuted pension, gratuity, leave encashment, GPF, Insurance, arrears of salary & pension under 6th Pay Commission revised scales and figure of re-fixed basic pension after 6th pay commission. The PIO did not respond and on first appeal, the FAA mentioned that the third party has raised objection to disclose information and rejected the appellant’s appeal citing exemption under Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act.
The representative of the appellant submitted that the third party here is the wife of the appellant who had suddenly left her family (which also included a 4 year old daughter) long back and has now come up demanding exorbitant maintenance charges from her husband through court proceedings, despite having sufficient means like pension on retirement from NDMC. It was argued that in response to an earlier RTI application of the appellant seeking the identical information before the implementing 6th Pay Commission has been provided by permitting the inspection of the relevant file by the appellant after overruling the objection of the said third party and now the PIO had suddenly changed his position and had declined the disclosure of information citing exemption 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. It was claimed that the PIO is bound by the earlier decision of allowing information.
View of CIC
The Commission confirmed from the respondents that they had allowed the Appellant to inspect the same file on an earlier date and had provided similar information to him upto 2009, after overruling the objection by the third party. The Commission saw no reason in allowing disclosure of similar information to the Appellant after revision of pay and pension (which is calculated using a formula which is well known). The Commission directed the respondent to furnish information to the appellant holding that it is not open for the respondents to take two different positions with respect to the same set of information without furnishing any convincing explanation.
Citation: Shri Sudershan Singh v. New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) in File No. CIC/AD/A/2011/002528
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/53
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