CIC: RTI Act does not require the public authority to retain records for indefinite period; Information needs to be retained as per the record retention schedule - CIC: Provide the record retention policy & confirmation that the records have been weeded
The applicant through 18 queries had sought information related to details of action taken on the memo no. Staff/13-9/111 dated: 05/09/1995 signed by Mr. B. L. Verma, provide copy of notings, approvals, details of employees given substantive appointment, on which date typing test cleared by the 07 candidates, basis on which substantive appointment was given, how many posts as on 01/05/92 was vacant at Jaipur, Rajasthan Circle, whether Mr. L. K. Mathur was appointed under General category, whether Mr. Mathur was appointed under sports quota, whether this was initial appointment open competition and other related information.
Grounds for the Second Appeal: The CPIO has not provided the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing: The following were present
Appellant: Mr. Balbhadra Vyas through VC
Respondent: Mr. Dayanand CPIO’s representative Jaipur & Mr. S N Yadav Mr. Ranjan Shukla CPIO’s representative Patna through VC
The appellant stated that he has not been provided the information sought under queries 1 to 4, 12, 13 & 15 of his RTI application dated 15/10/2013. The CPIO’s representative Jaipur stated that the information is old, however, they have been able to trace the relevant records and will provide the information. The appellant further submitted that a complaint was lodged against Shri L K Mathur and he needs information sought under queries 16, 17 & 18. The CPIO’s representative informed that the matter relates to a third party and investigation report is under consideration by the CVC. He claimed that the information is personal in nature and cannot be disclosed being exempt under Section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; &(j) of the RTI Act. The appellant stated that queries 5 to 11 relate to Patna office and the information is yet to be provided. The CPIO’s representative, Patna informed that the records sought by the appellant are about 30 years old and not available. He submitted that as per the record preservation policy such information is preserved for a period 10 years.
As agreed by the CPIO’s representative Jaipur he should furnish the information relating to queries 1 to 4, 12, 13 & 15 to the appellant, free of cost, within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order. As regards information relating to complaint against Shri L K Mathur (queries 16, 17 & 18), it is seen that a Coordinate Bench of the Commission in a similar matter vide its decision dated 26/06/2013 [file no. CIC/SM/A/2013/000058 Manoj Arya vs. Cabinet Secretariat] has held as under:
“4. We have carefully gone through the contents of the RTI application and the order of the Appellate Authority. We have also considered the submissions of both the respondent and the third party in the case. The entire information sought by the Appellant revolves around the complaints made against an officer of the government and any possible action the authorities might have taken on those complaints. The Appellate Authority was very right in deciding that this entire class of information was qualified as personal information within the meaning of the provisions of Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act. In this connection, it is very pertinent to cite the decision of the Supreme Court of India in the SLP(C) No. 27734 of 2012 (Girish R Deshpande vs CIC and others) in which it has held that “the performance of an employee/Officer in an organisation 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 could cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of that individual” The Supreme Court further held that such information could be disclosed only if it would serve a larger public interest. The information sought by the Appellant in this case is about some complaints made against a government official and any possible action the authorities might have taken on those complaints. It is, thus, clearly the kind of information which is envisaged in the above Supreme Court order. Therefore, the information is completely exempted from disclosure under the provisions of the RTI Act which both the CPIO and the Appellate Authority have rightly cited in their respective orders.”
As per the ratio of the above cited decision information relating to complaints against public servants and action taken thereon is 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 unless larger public purpose is demonstrated. In the matter at hand the appellant has not established that the information sought is for larger public purpose. Hence, we find no ground to interfere with the respondent’s decision.
The RTI Act does not require the public authority to retain records for indefinite period. The information needs to be retained as per the record retention schedule applicable to the concerned public authority. The relevant records relating to recruitment conducted in the year 1983 have been weeded out. The CPIO, Patna, is directed to provide a copy of the record retention policy to the appellant along with a confirmation that the records have been weeded out within 7 days from the date of receipt of this order. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Balbhadra Vyas S/o Late Shivkisan Ji v. Department of Posts in File No. CIC/BS/A/2014/000882/7329