Details regarding on site inspection report regarding a property – CIC: appellant is seeking third party information without any larger public interest with the apparent purpose of meddling in the affairs of other persons - imbibe the true spirit of RTI
1. Appellant submitted RTI application dated 30 June 2012 and 2 July 2012 before the CPIO, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, New Delhi seeking details in respect of official supervision /on site inspection report prepared by the JE and AE, in charge of the Municipal Ward 80 of the MCD, Delhi regarding property no. 32383240, Gali Dor Wali, Ram Bazar, Mori Gate, Delhi 06 and other related information through multiple points and show cause notice dated 11/1/2010 issued for sealing in respect of Property No. 3172, Gali Sui wali, Ram Bazar, Mori Gate, Delhi6 (Municipal Ward80) and other related information through multiple points.
2. Vide CPIO Orders dated 28 August 2012, opportunity for file inspection was provided to the Appellant.
3. In the mean time, the Appellant preferred first Appeals dated 14 August 2012 to the First Appellate Authority.
4. Vide FAA Orders dated 29 August 2012, CPIO’s Order was upheld.
5. Being aggrieved and not being satisfied by the above response of the public authority, the appellant preferred second appeal before the Commission.
6. Matter was heard today. Respondents as above appeared in person. Appellant was not present even though notice of hearing was sent to him.
7. A perusal of both 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 meddleing in the affairs of other persons. In case the appellant holds information regarding any wrong use/ unauthorised construction on the said properties, then it is for him to provide this information to the proper authorities so that corrective action can be taken. Instead, in paragraph 10 of the RTI application dated 2 July 2012 the applicant has sought "certified copies of the complete file of the approved/ sanctioned/ regularised residential site plan of property no. 3172,Gali Sui Wali, Ram Bazar, Mori Gate, Delhi", including among other documents, "all no objections given by various agencies, total submitted documents by the owners,
complete file notings and complete remarks and directions passed by all the officials".
8. 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 Civil Appeal No. 6454 of 2011 decided on 9 August 2011 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 counterproductive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of the administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the nonproductive 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 prioritizing 'information furnishing', at the cost of their normal and regular duties.”
9. Appellant is directed to imbive the true spirit of the observations made by the Supreme Court quoted hearing above and not misuse in future, the cherished right given to citizens under the RTI Act, 2005. Appeals stand dismissed.
(Smt. Deepak Sandhu)
Information Commissioner (DS)
Citation: Shri Inder Pal Kalra v. North Delhi Municipal Corporation in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2012/002046