Guest list of Iftar party hosted by PM denied u/s 8(1)(a) and 8(1)(j) – composition of the guests provided - Iftar party is hosted by way of convention to promote goodwill and harmony in the society - many guests may have security concerns – denial upheld
1. The Appellant had wanted to know several details about the Iftar party hosted by the Prime Minister of India in 2012 including the guest list and the expenditure incurred on the party. The CPIO had provided him the total number of guests who had attended the party and the expenditure incurred on that. He had, however, not agreed to disclose the guest list on the ground that it was exempt under the provisions of section 8(1) (a) and (j) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Appellant had preferred an appeal against this order. The Appellate Authority had endorsed the stand taken by the CPIO in regard to the guest list and disposed of the appeal without giving any further information.
2. Much of the information has already been disclosed. The only item of information which remains to be disclosed is the guest list. The CPIO has even indicated the composition of the guests. The Iftar party is hosted by the Prime Minister of India by way of convention like it is hosted by many other functionaries. Ostensibly, this is done to promote goodwill and harmony in the society. Since it has a religious background, there is certain sensitivity attached to the organisation of such a party. We agree with the Appellate Authority that the disclosure of the guest list could cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the guests many of whom may feel embarrassed if their names are divulged in the public domain. Apart from that, many of the guests being diplomats and persons who may have security concerns about their personal safety, the disclosure of such names may not be in the interest of security also. From all these points of view, there is overwhelming reason not to disclose the guest list. To that extent, we fully endorse the decision of the Appellate Authority.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Sh. Aseem Takyar v. Prime Minister's office in Case No.CIC/SM/A/2013/000387