Details of properties in Delhi owned/assessed in the name of certain individuals was denied claiming that the property tax record is maintained property number wise not name wise - CIC: it is third party information exempt u/s 8(1)(j)
The appellant had sought information regarding details of properties in Delhi owned/assessed in the name of Shri Narain and 4 others.
Relevant facts emerging during hearing:
The appellant not present. The appellant filed an RTI on 26.09.2012 seeking information regarding details of properties in Delhi owned/assessed in the name of Shri Narain and 4 others. PIO vide reply dated 08.10.2012 informed the appellant that “Property tax record is maintained property No. wise not name wise. In this regard, it is to inform that no such type of information is available on such format.” Not satisfied with CPIO reply appellant filed first appeal. The FAA vide his order dated 22.11.2012 directed the CPIO to take consent of the concerned person and take an appropriate view in line with the provisions of the RTI act, 2005, only after receipt of the opinion of the affected parties. CPIO in compliance of FAA order denied information by invoking Section 8(1)(j).
A perusal of the RTI applications has convinced the Commission that the appellant is seeking third party information without any larger public interest with the apparent purpose of meddling in the affairs of other persons. Such an intrusion into affairs of third parties without establishing larger public interest is neither the purpose nor the object of the RTI Act and must be discouraged. In the Commission’s view, this is a case which is squarely covered by the observations made by the honourable Supreme Court of India in the matter of CBSE & Anr Vs Aditya Bandhopadyaya and Ors. wherein it is stated as follows: “37. The right to information is a cherished right. Information and right to information are intended to be formidable tools in the hands of responsible citizens to fight corruption and to bring in transparency and accountability. The provisions of RTI Act should be enforced strictly and all efforts should be made to bring to light the necessary information under clause (b) of section 4(1) of the Act which relates to securing transparency and accountability in the working of public authorities and in discouraging corruption. But in regard to other information, (that is information other than those enumerated in section 4(1)(b) Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the enactment of this Act,- (i) the particulars of its organisation, functions and duties; (ii) the powers and duties of its officers and employees; (iii) the procedure followed in the decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability; (iv) the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions; (v) the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records, held by it or under its control or used by its employees for discharging its functions; (vi) a statement of the categories of documents that are held by it or under its control; (vii) the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by, the members of the public in relation to the formulation of its policy or implementation thereof; (viii) a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted as its part or for the purpose of its advice, and as to whether meetings of those boards, councils, committees and other bodies are open to the public, or the minutes of such meetings are accessible for public; (ix) a directory of its officers and employees; (x) the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations; (xi) the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made; (xii) the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details of beneficiaries of such programmes; (xiii) particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorisations granted by it; (xiv) details in respect of the information, available to or held by it, reduced in an electronic form; (xv) the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use; (xvi) the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers; (xvii) such other information as may be prescribed and thereafter update these publications every year; and (c) of the Act), equal importance and emphasis are given to other public interests (like confidentiality of sensitive information, fidelity and fiduciary relationships, efficient operation of governments, etc.). Indiscriminate and impractical demands or directions under RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information (unrelated to transparency and accountability in the functioning of public authorities and eradication of corruption) would be counter-productive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information. 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.” In view of the above, the Commission upholds the view of PIO for non-disclosure of information u/s 8(1) (j). The appeal is dismissed accordingly.
Citation: Shri A. Kumar v. South Delhi Municipal Corp., in F.No.CIC/DS/A/2013/000506-YA