Copies of documents relating to passport issued to his wife – information needed as his wife had filed a section 498 A case against him - CIC: past CIC order regarding disclosure has been stayed by Delhi HC - personal information exempt from disclosure
1. The Appellant had sought the copies of all the documents relating to the passport issued to Smt Anjali Kumar, his wife. The CPIO had refused to disclose any such information by claiming it to be personal information and exempted under the provisions of section 8(1)(f) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information received in confidence from foreign Government; of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Not satisfied, he had preferred an appeal. The Appellate Authority had disposed of the appeal by endorsing the stand taken by the CPIO.
2. During the hearing, the Appellant seriously argued that this information should be disclosed in national interest as he suspected his wife to be engaged in terrorist activities. He informed us that his wife had filed a section 498 A case against him which was pending in the court and he needed this information also in that regard. In support of his demand, he referred to some orders passed by the CIC earlier directing that the passport details of a citizen could be disclosed under RTI and argued that, therefore, this information should be given to him.
3. After carefully considering the facts of the case, we find it very difficult to accept his argument. As for the order of the CIC in this regard, it has since been stayed by the Delhi High Court. And, in the meanwhile, we have passed numerous orders in such matters refusing to disclose the passport details of an individual to others even if one spouse demands it of the other. The information contained in the passport application and other related information like the police verification report is clearly personal in nature and, if disclosed, can cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual concerned. Besides, such information has no connection with any ostensible public activity or interest. In view of this, we find no reason to interfere in the order of the Appellate Authority. The information cannot be disclosed.
4. The appeal is disposed off accordingly.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Ashwin Kumar M v. Ministry of External Affairs in File No.CIC/SM/A/2013/000599