Details about passport issued to her husband denied as third party personal information – Appellant claimed although he is known as Lalit Kadian, he had got a passport issued in the name of Milan Hooda – CIC: disclosure warranted in larger public interest
Details about the passport issued to her husband under a different name denied as third party personal information – Appellant claimed although he is known to her as Lalit Kadian, he had got a passport issued in the name of Milan Hooda – CIC: Larger public interest lies in going into the details of this case and finding out if this has really happened - PIO directed to revisit the records and find if two separate passports have been issued to the same individual under two different names
1. In her RTI application, the Appellant had sought some details about the passport issued to her husband under a different name. The CPIO had denied to disclose this information on the ground that it was third party personal information. She had appealed against this order. However, the Appellate Authority had disposed of the appeal by endorsing the stand taken by the CPIO.
2. This is a curious case. The allegation by the wife against the husband is that although he is known to her as Lalit Kadian, according to her information, he had got a passport issued in the name of Milan Hooda. In support of her contention, she produced before us the student identity card of Salford University in the UK which carries, according to her, her husband's photograph although under the name of Milan Hooda. In order to unravel this mystery, she wants to know the documentation based on which the passport had been issued to Milan Hooda. According to the respondent, it will not be possible for the passport office to find out the details without at least the name of the father of the passport holder and his date of birth.
3. We have carefully gone through the facts of the case and the submissions made before us. Ordinarily, we have consistently held that the passport details of a citizen cannot be disclosed to any other person under RTI, this being personal information and exempt under the provisions of 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 Right to Information (RTI) Act. However, that very exemption provision also carries a proviso that even personal information can be disclosed in larger public interest. The present case indicates that there is possibility that someone has been able to obtain a passport by producing false documentation and records about his identity. Larger public interest lies in going into the details of this case and finding out if this has really happened. Therefore, the disclosure of such information, if available, would help in bringing to book the person who might have committed a crime. In view of this, we would like the CPIO to revisit the records and to find out if it should be possible to know if two separate passports have been issued to the same individual under two different names as has been alleged by the Appellant in this case.
4. The CPIO is directed to find out the facts and records from wherever it might be available, either in the relevant passport office within India or in any of our missions abroad and provide the information to the Appellant within 30 working days from receiving this order. We also advise the Appellant to lodge a formal complaint before the Regional Passport Officer Delhi in this regard so that the authorities can also initiate appropriate action in the case.
5. The appeal is disposed off accordingly.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Dr. Jyoti Lamba, D/o Sh. R S Lamba v. Ministry of External Affairs in File No.CIC/SM/A/2013/000342