Can the Telephone Bills be disclosed in Public Interest?
The appellant had sought the information regarding the Bills raised and collections received for the period from 1st April 2009 to 31st March 2010 in respect of post-paid services provided in Chennai Circle. An affidavit was provided by BSNL that disclosure of requested information would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the subscribers concerned and hence, the details cannot be disclosed. The PIO also replied that that the requested information is available with the Public Authority in fiduciary relationship and it would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the subscribers concerned and therefore, the request could not be acceded to.
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The appellant submitted that he is running an unregistered NGO which aims at safeguarding the public interest and he is merely interested in bills raised and collections received from 1.4.2009 to 31.3.2010 in respect of the land lines and mobile phones in Chennai Circle and is not requesting for disclosure of identity of the subscribers. His core interest in this matter is to ascertain the quantum of unpaid bills causing huge loss to the public exchequer. The appellant also requested that he will be satisfied if information regarding unpaid bills is supplied to him for two months only viz. June 2009 and December 2009. The Commission observed that disclosure of this limited information is not likely to cause invasion of the privacy of the subscribers and ordered to provide the desired information to the appellant.
Citation: Shri P. Balachandar v. BSNL in file no. CIC/LS/A/2011/003516
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/56
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