Information about the number of complaints received by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, copy of inquiry proceedings etc. was denied u/s 8 (1) (j) - CIC: PIO to show-cause why maximum penalty should not be imposed upon each of them
1. Appellant sought information about the number of complaints received by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, copy of inquiry proceedings in such complaints, date-wise decisions of cases where the accused persons were found guilty and what reliefs were granted. PIO replied on 17.05.2017 stating that the information sought by the appellant was not disclosable as per exemption under section 8 (1) (j) of RTI Act.
2. It is absolutely not convincing that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights is refusing the information about action taken on complaints pending since years before it. The NCPCR uses a privacy exception to refuse entire information en bloc. No effort is done to provide information which could have been disclosed on their own under Section 4(1)(b). Except the name of the child, nothing could be denied. The NCPCR has hired services of a consultant and adviser, who instead of guiding the CPIO properly to disclose the information, misguided him to deny the entire information. These two experienced seniors did not even provide reasons to justify the denial. They failed to perform their duty to separate information that could be given from that cannot be given and provide, as prescribed under Section 10(1) Where a request for access to information is rejected on the ground that it is in relation to information which is exempt from disclosure, then, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, access may be provided to that part of the record which does not contain any information which is exempt from disclosure under this Act and which can reasonably be severed from any part that contains exempt information. of RTI Act. They do not know that Section 10 provide for severability. When appellant was not seeking names and personal information and wanted information about the number of cases left out without any action, or action taken and pending before the Commission for years, public authority cannot invoke 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. at all.
3. Appellant’s request for action taken information on four-year old complaints before National Commission for Protection of Child Right (NCPCR), which is in public interest and relates to its core function. The CPIO, adviser and consultant vehemently argued with the Commission refusing the disclosure without forwarding any justification. They have bluntly rejected entire information abusing section 8 (1) (j) of RTI Act. It is most unfortunate that the Consultant and Advisor have guided the CPIO and Public Authority to breach the RTI Act.
4. The Commission directs the respondent authority to provide information regarding cases pending for over two years pertaining to Bihar Circle and details of disposal of cases where accused were found guilty, after removing names and personal details of children; within 15 days from date of receipt of this order.
5. The Commission directs Mr. G. Suresh, PIO to show-cause why maximum penalty should not be imposed upon each of them, for illegal obstruction of information, before 20.10.2017. Based on the adamant obstruction and denial by the adviser and consultant, the Commission considers Mr Rakesh Bhartiya, Advisor and Mr Raman Gaur, Senior Consultant as deemed PIOs and directs them to show-cause why maximum penalty should not be imposed on each of them for illegal obstruction of information, before 20.10.2017.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Central Information Commissioner
Citation: Ajit Kumar Singh v. PIO, National Commission for Protection of Child Right in CIC/NCPCR/C/2017/143655, Decided On: 21.09.2017