Can residential addresses of the public servants be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant claimed that he wanted to lodge certain criminal proceedings against the officials of BSNL. He sought the information about permanent residential address of 12 BSNL officers ranging from SDE to PGMT under the RTI Act. The Public information Officer (PIO) denied the information under section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act and his decision was upheld by the First Appellate Authority (FAA).
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) rejected the appeal stating that every citizen has a right to privacy. The Commission ruled that while the official addresses of the public servants can be said to fall in public domain, the same be said about their permanent residential addresses. Holding that the public servants have a right to privacy subject to certain limits, the Commission observed that disclosure of the residential addresses of the officers, apart from compromising their privacy, can also have security implications. Therefore, the Commission directed PIO to disclose the current official addresses of the officers if he receives such a request from the appellant.
The case provides a very vivid distinction between what is personal and what is in public domain. There are many aspects of a public servants life which has no co-relation with public activity which are frequently being asked under RTI.
Citation: Mr. T Gorghate v BSNL in File No. CIC/LS/A/2011/003154
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/201
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