Disclosure of designations and addresses
The Appellant sought the official designation and position and postal address with telephone number, email ID and fax number, details of education qualifications etc. of an employee of Ministry of External Affairs. When the views of the employee were sought under section 11, he objected to revealing the information claiming that the appellant is likely to harm him and his family members. Thereafter, the PIO refused to furnish 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, 2005.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that as per the requirements of Section 4(1) of the RTI Act, details of all officers including their addresses and salaries have to be displayed on the website of the Department. Under these circumstances no claim for exemption of these details can be made. The Commission did not uphold the claim for exemption of the PIO while noting that public servants cannot claim that they fear danger from citizens if there official designations and addresses are disclosed. The Commission directed to PIO to give information to the appellant.
The RTI Act makes it mandatory for Public Authorities to pro-actively disclose a variety of information about the organisation and its functioning. In this relation, section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; of the act specifies seventeen manuals which are to be disclosed suo-motu by the Public Authorities. Invoking privacy to prevent disclosure of even the official designations and addresses would make it impossible to deliver public service.
Citation: Mr. Harinder Kharbanda v. Ministry of External Affairs in CIC/SG/A/2011/002352/15974