Can the police investigation report be sought under “Public Interest”?
The appellant filed the application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Canara Bank seeking point wise information about some allegations made by one junior officer against his senior officer of respondent bank. Information was sought on 6 points, with some points having sub points. 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; of the RTI Act but the letter was not received by the appellant. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) provided a copy of the reply of the PIO to the appellant.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent stated that the nature of information has nothing to do with the public domain and the matter falls under the category of fiduciary relationship and third party information. The appellant stated that the matter was a subject matter of a public inquiry conducted by the police and CID. It cannot be denied treating it as fiduciary matter and third party information. The appellant further stated that he wanted the certified copies of the complaints, the inquiry report of the circle office and police investigation report. The respondent argued that the police report was not in their domain and the matter was an internal matter of the bank which cannot be divulged.
View of CIC
The Commission directed the PIO to initiate action under section 11(1) Where a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose any information or record, or part thereof on a request made under this Act, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall, within five days from the receipt of the request, give a written notice to such third party of the request and of the fact that the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose the information or record, or part thereof, and invite the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information should be disclosed, and such submission of the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information: of the RTI Act and invite the third party to make a submission regarding whether the information sought should be disclosed to the appellant and to update the details to the appellant accordingly.
Citation: Shri Murari Sharan Srivastava v. Canara Bank in Decision No.CIC/SM/A/2011/002957/VS/01809
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1058
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission