Can PIO transfer the application u/s 6(3) of RTI Act within his organisation?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) seeking details of appointment of a particular person. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information 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.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that BCCL is a big organization in which 65,000 employees worked under different areas and the exercise of section 11 has not been completed in the instant case because the appellant has not provided complete details of appointed person such as his employee number, designation, place of posting etc. They also submitted that on an average 400 persons per month were provided employment in BCCL against Land Losers’ Scheme.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that information related to appointments made by the public authorities cannot be claimed to be personal third party information of anybody. The Commission however noted that the person about whom the information is being sought cannot be identified without his employment number, designation, place of posting. The Commission directed the PIO, BCCL, Headquarter to transfer the RTI application to the respective PIOs of BCCL, areas/ collieries under section 6(3) of the RTI Act. The Commission also directed that the respective PIOs would provide the information to the appellant directly whether such a person is working in their jurisdiction and details of his appointment.
When an application is transferred under section 6(3) of the RTI Act, the responsibility of the PIO ends with the transfer and intimation of the same to the applicant. However if the application is transferred under section 5(4), PIO has to collect the information from the deemed PIO and provide it to the applicant. Usually within the same department the PIO is expected to transfer the application under section 5(4) only. In this case, the CIC has made an exception without giving any reasons.
Citation: Mr. Sunil Chhabra v. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd., in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/000233
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/662
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission