Documents relating to his complaint against the Canara Bank in the matter of M/s Metafilms India Ltd denied – Appellant argued that enquiry initiated on the basis of his complaint – CIC: PIO to revisit the communications and apply severability
1. The Appellant had requested for permission to inspect and obtain the files and documents relating to his complaint against the Canara Bank in the matter of M/s Metafilms India Ltd. The CPIO had refused to allow any such inspection or provide any such information on the ground that the disclosure of the information was covered under the exemption provisions contained in section 8(1)(d) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; and 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. He had also held that since the matter was still under examination and not yet come to any conclusion, the disclosure of the information was also exempt section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; of the RTI Act. The Appellant had preferred an appeal against this order. The Appellate Authority had disposed of the appeal by endorsing the stand taken by the CPIO.
2. The Appellant argued that the CVC had initiated this entire enquiry on the basis of the complaint filed by him and, therefore, he was a necessary party to the case. He submitted that the disclosure of the material furnished by the Canara Bank would be in public interest as it would show the extent to which it was complicit in this obviously bad loan case. Besides, he could then find what all the Bank had suppressed so that he could help the CVC with additional information to plug the holes. On the other hand, the respondent submitted that the information supplied by the Canara Bank contained details about the borrower as well as the information based on which the CVC had advised initiation of disciplinary proceedings against certain officials of the Bank. According to him, the disclosure of the information would, therefore, not only expose the commercial confidence inherent in the borrower details but also place in the public domain information regarding the proposed disciplinary proceeding against certain officials now held to be personal information by the Supreme Court of India in its order in the Girish R Deshpande case.
3. We have carefully considered the facts of the case and the submissions made before us. We tend to agree with the contention of the CPIO although we would like him to go through the entire set of correspondence made with the Canara Bank and to find out if some of those communications could still be disclosed after severing that information which is in the nature of commercial confidence or personal information. Therefore, we direct the CPIO to revisit the communications received from the Canara Bank in respect of this case and to provide the copies of those to the Appellant within 10 working days of receiving this order after severing, wherever necessary, the information which is in the nature of commercial confidence or personal information.
4. The appeal is disposed off accordingly.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Sh. P Balac v. Central Vigilance Commission in File No.CIC/SM/A/2013/000441