CIC: the ACR of employee himself is not third party information and cannot be denied to him; the employees has right to access to his own ACR, which will help in analyzing his performance; CIC: provide the photocopies of minutes of DPC
Heard on 10.6.14. Appellant not present. Public Authority is represented by Shri V. Hari Kumar.
2. The Appellant filed RTI application dated 24102012 whereby he sought the copies of main result sheet of the students of class XI arts group for the academic year 2009-12, his ACR copy for 2010-11 & 2011-12 etc. PIO replied on 23112012 whereby he was denied information on Point No. 1,5,6, 7 & 8 citing judgment of Supreme Court in SLP (C) No. 27734 / 2012, with regard to ACR of appellant the PIO stated it is denied under Section 8 (1)(j). Being unsatisfied with the reply of PIO, the appellant preferred First Appeal. Having received no reply from the First Appellate Authority within the prescribed period, the appellant has approached the Commission in Second Appeal.
3. The Respondent Authority while denying the information as to point No. 1,5,6,7 & 8 have relied on the Judgement of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande Vs. Cen. Information Commr. & Ors. [Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 27734 of 2012], the question before the Hon’ble Court was whether CIC was right in denying information regarding the third respondent’s personal matters pertaining to his service career and also denying the details of his assets and liabilities, movable and immovable properties on the ground that the information sought for was qualified to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that “We are in agreement with the CIC and the courts below that the details called for by the petitioner i.e. copies of all memos issued to the third respondent, show cause notices and orders of censure/punishment etc. are qualified to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The performance of an employee/officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression “personal information”, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On the other hand, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual. Of course, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer of the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed but the petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right.”
4. In view of the above Judgement it is clear that when information is sought with regard to personal records of others Section 8 (1) (J) will apply. The appellant in the present case is not seeking personal records of others, he is seeking the main result sheet, copy of office entry register for memo issued and the representation made to school, minutes of meeting of MC/DAC etc. Even during the proceedings, the respondent did not provide any proof as to how the information sought was personal or confidential.
5. The respondent authority as to the ACR of appellant himself took exemption of Section 8 (1) (J). It is clarified to the Respondent Authority that Section 8 (1) (J) will not apply in view of Judgement of Delhi High Court in Arvind Kejriwal Vs. CPIO, Cabinet Secretariat [W.P. (Civil) Nos. 6614 of 2008], Hon’ble Court observed that : Para 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. “…….The evaluation of the past performance of these officers is contained in the ACRs. On the basis of the comparative assessment a grading is given. Such information cannot but be viewed as personal to such officers. Visàvis a person who is not an employee of the Government of India and is seeking such information as a member of the public, such information has to be viewed as constituting “third party information”. This can be contrasted with a situation where a government employee is seeking information concerning his own grading, ACR etc. That obviously does not involve “third party” information. In view of the above it is clear that the ACR of employee himself cannot be denied to him. In a number of judgements the Court’s have stated that the employees has right to access to his own ACR, which will help in analyzing his performance. Hence, the case of the respondent authority that it is third party information does not stand.
6. The Commission after hearing the submissions made and on perusal of the documents on record directs the PIO to furnish the information sought against the following points to the Appellant within two weeks of receipt of this order.
i) Photocopies of Appellant’s ACR for the period 2010-11 and 2011-12.
ii) To provide the relevant document on the basis of which points 1, 5 & 6.
iii) Photocopies of all the meeting of MC and DAC minutes of this academic session 2012-13.
iv) Photocopies of minutes of DPC dt.16.9.08 and 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. .4.09.
7. The appeal is disposed with the above direction.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: C.J.Joyson v. Salwan Boys Sr. Sec. School in Case No.CIC/AD/A/2013/000710SA