CIC observed that the appellant had asked for information regarding a particular policy holder without enclosing any authorization from him, yet PIO had provided the information - CIC: The PIO & FAA advised to keep the provisions of the RTI Act in mind
1. Shri Biraja Prasad Mohanty, the appellant, vide RTI application dated 1.1.2015 sought information with regard to the year in which Sr Divisional Manager, LIC of India, namely Prafulla Kumar Sethi, had been appointed in LIC of India along with the posts held by him from the date of appointment in LIC of India, the number of years for which he stayed in Orissa region, number of times he had been promoted in his service career, the affidavit filed by the officer regarding the assets acquired by him, criminal and departmental proceedings initiated against him, etc., through 7 points
2. The CPIO, vide letter dated 14.02.2015, provided the date of appointment of Shri Prafulla Kumar Sethi as AAO, the no. of times the officer was promoted in his career and that information with regard to salary was placed on their website. Dissatisfied by the information provided by the CPIO, the appellant filed an appeal before the first appellate authority (FAA) on 11.02.2015 on the ground that CPIO had not provided complete information within stipulated time period. The FAA vide, order dated 18.02.2015, upheld the CPIO’s decision. Thereafter, dissatisfied with the decision of the respondents, the appellant filed the instant appeal before the Commission on 22.05.2015 on the ground that CPIO had not provide the true information.
3. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant stated that he had sought information on the appointment of Shri Prafulla Kuamr Sethi in LIC and the posts held by him, the number of years he had stayed in Orissa region, number of times he was promoted, the assets including land, building, bank accounts mentioned in the affidavit filed by Shri Prafulla Kumar Sethi along with his salary amount and other allowances and whether any criminal or departmental proceedings were going on against him. But, the CPIO and FAA both had not given him complete information besides Shri Sethi adjudicated his own case being the first appellate authority himself. The appellant’s representative also stated that the service book of the employee is sent wherever the official is posted, therefore, the respondents should be able to provide him the details of postings held by the officer during his entire career so far. The respondents stated that they had already given the date of appointment of Shri Sethi, the number of times he was promoted and that the information regarding other allowances, the information about various posts held by the officer was not available with them in a compiled form, therefore, they could not provide the same. They further added that the salary information was displayed on their website as suo moto disclosure u/s 4(1)(b)(x). Under the RTI Act, they were not supposed to compile information but provide it if it was available with them in a compiled form. As far as the assets and property, etc was concerned, the third party had objected to providing this information to the appellant. They further added that the official concerned, Shri Prafulla Kumar Sethi, had been in Orissa for the last three years after his transfer from the North- East.
4. On hearing both the parties, the Commission observes that the respondents had provided information as readily available with them. They are not supposed to collect and collate information in case it is not available and they have to go through the records and create it. The Supreme Court in the matter of CBSE vs Aditya Bandhopadhyay has observed as follows :-
“35. At this juncture, it is necessary to clear some misconceptions about the RTI Act. The RTI Act provides access to all information that is available and existing. This is clear from a combined reading of section 3 and the definitions of ‘information’ and ‘right to information’ under clauses (f) and (j) of section 2 of the Act. If a public authority has any information in the form of data or analysed data, or abstracts, or statistics, an applicant may access such information, subject to the exemptions in section 8 of the Act. But where the information sought is not a part of the record of a public authority, and where such information is not required to be maintained under any law or the rules or regulations of the public authority, the Act does not cast an obligation upon the public authority, to collect or collate such nonavailable information and then furnish it to an applicant…..” “37…..The Act should not be allowed to be misused or abused, to become a tool to obstruct the national development and integration, or to destroy the peace, tranquility and harmony among its citizens. Nor should it be converted into a tool of oppression or intimidation of honest officials striving to do their duty. The nation does not want a scenario where 75% of the staff of public authorities spends 75% of their time in collecting and furnishing information to applicants instead of discharging their regular duties. The threat of penalties under the RTI Act and the pressure of the authorities under the RTI Act should not lead to employees of a public authorities prioritising ‘information furnishing’, at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”
5. As far as the property details, etc. and if any criminal department proceedings had been initiated against the official are concerned, the respondents informed him that no affidavit had been filed by the official concerned. The apex court in the case of Girish Ramchandra Deshpande has observed that:
“The petitioner herein sought for copies of all memos, show cause notices and censure/punishment awarded to the third respondent from his employer and also details viz. movable and immovable properties and also the details of his investments, lending and borrowing from Banks and other financial institutions. ……The question that has come up for consideration is whether the abovementioned information sought for qualifies to be “personal information” as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act.” “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.”
5. The Commission, therefore, upholds the decision of the respondents. The Commission also observes that the official about whom the information is being sought for should not deal with his own case as far as possible. The FAA may bear this in mind while adjudicating such cases in future. The appeal is disposed of.
1. The appellant, vide RTI application dated 17.6.2015, sought information on whether “stop deduction LIC Letter” was issued to the Block Education Officer Nischintakoili to stop LIC premium deduction from salary of Pravat Kumar Behera against policy No 587032974 of premium 1108/- or not, and asked for the copy of the letter, if issued, copy of circular or guideline booklet of LIC of India regarding ‘stop deduction’ of premium from salary of government employee of primary school saving scheme etc., through 5 points.
2. The CPIO, vide letter dated 13.07.2015, responded to all points providing information. On point no. 4, however, he denied the information by claiming exemption of section 8(1)(j), 8 (1)(e) & 8 (1)(g) of the RTI Act, 2005 as information contains personal details of the third party and the same was held by the public authority in fiduciary capacity, disclosure would endanger the life or physical safety of the person. Dissatisfied by the information provided by the CPIO, the appellant filed an appeal on 22.07.2015 before the first appellate authority (FAA). The FAA, vide order dated 20.8.2015, upheld the CPIO’s decision. Thereafter, dissatisfied with the decision of the respondents, the appellant filed the instant appeal before the Commission on 29.10.2015 on the ground that CPIO had not provide the correct information.
3. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant stated that he had not been given any information in the matter of LIC’s letter to block education officer regarding stopping the premium from the salary of Shri Prabhat Kumar Behera, against policy no. 587032974. They had also not given him the circular from LIC regarding stopping deduction. Moreover, whatever information was provided by the CPIO was not correct. The respondents stated that they had provided point wise and correct information in respect of all the points excepting where the information regarding the father’s name, full present address and permanent address of their personnel was sought. The appellant did not specify the point on which incorrect information had been given to him and the respondents confirmed that they had provided the information as available with them. They reiterated that the policy holder himself had requested to stop LIC premium deduction.
4. The Commission observes that the appellant had asked for information regarding a particular policy holder without enclosing any letter of authorization from him, yet the CPIO had provided him the information and also gave a copy of the letter addressed to the BEO which was clearly third party information. The CPIO and FAA are advised to keep the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 in view while deciding requests for information. The Commission upholds the FAA’s decision. The appeal is disposed of..
Citation: Shri Biraja Prasad Mohanty v. LIC of India in Appeal No. CIC/MP/A/2015/001253 No. CIC/MP/A/2015/002208