CIC- PIOs should be adequately trained to deal with RTI applications
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) seeking several details about a particular passport holder. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided the desired details but without enclosing any material record.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that he wanted this information in the form of certified record so that he could produce it in a court of law.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the personal details of the passport holder cannot be disclosed under RTI being exempt 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. The CIC noted that when the Commission had ordered in the past that such information be disclosed the MEA chose to challenge this order before the Delhi High Court and obtained a stay. The CIC held that in spite of such stated position the PIO chose to disclose the personal information of a third party passport holder which shows a complete lack of awareness about the provisions of the RTI Act. The Commission held that in order to avoid such mistakes in future the Chief Passport Officer should impart adequate training to all the PIOs working under him on how to deal with such RTI requests. The CIC ruled that when the information has already been given it is in the fitness of things that the copies of the relevant material records based on which such information was disclosed are also provided to the appellant. The CIC directed the PIO to send to the appellant the attested photocopies of the relevant documents. The CIC also issued a show cause notice to the PIO for delay and for not responding to the RTI application on time.
Citation: Mr. M Peer Mohammed v. Ministry of External Affairs in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/000902
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/988
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