Disclosure of explanation given by PIOs in response to a show cause notice
The appellant sought for the certified copies of the explanation submitted by the Public Authority in compliance to the show cause notice issued by the Central Information Commission in regard of certain cases and the certified copies of the file noting of the final decisions of the Commission in the cases. The Public Information Officer (PIO) replied that the information pertains to third party and any action of the same can be provided only after their consent is received under section 11(1) Where a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose any information or record, or part thereof on a request made under this Act, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall, within five days from the receipt of the request, give a written notice to such third party of the request and of the fact that the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose the information or record, or part thereof, and invite the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information should be disclosed, and such submission of the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information: of the RTI Act. He also denied for the certified copies of the final decisions claiming that the response from the concerned PIO was still awaited and the cases were yet to be processed.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the information cannot be denied under section 11 and that this section does not give a third party an unrestrained veto to refuse disclosing information. It only gives the third party an opportunity to voice its objections to disclosing information. Under section 19(8)(b) In its decision, the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be, has the power to require the public authority to compensate the complainant for any loss or other detriment suffered; of the RTI Act the Commission awarded a compensation of Rs.3000/- to the appellant for the loss and detriment suffered by him in having to pursue the appeals. The Commission also recommended that the Secretary, CIC may consider recovering this amount from the salary of the persons responsible for this. A show-cause notice was also issued to the PIO to explain the delay in disclosure of information.
As per the RTI Act, the compensation is to be paid by the Public Authority to the complainant and in some cases like this one; the Commission has given the recommendation to the public authority to recover the compensation amount from the PIO.
Citation: Mr. Chayan Ghost Chowdhury v. Central Information Commission in Decision No. CIC/WB/A/2010/000712/SG/18370
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/271
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