Information regarding copy of gold delivery order, stock register & tax invoice & result of the inquiry conducted by the bank was sought - CIC: Provide photocopy of stock register by severing the third party information u/s 10 of RTI Act
1. The appellant, Ms. Purnima Sahu, submitted RTI application dated 15 November 2013 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Punjab National Bank, Bhubaneswar; seeking information regarding copy of gold delivery order, stock register & tax invoice and report/result of the inquiry conducted by the bank through Shri Virender Chopra, Internal Chief Auditor in pursuance of his letter dated 19.9.2013 etc.
2. Vide reply dated 21 November 2013, the CPIO denied the information on the ground that the information sought was related to commercial confidence and trade secrets. Not satisfied with the CPIO’s reply, the appellant preferred an appeal dated 25 November 2013 to the first appellate authority (FAA) alleging that she had been wrongly and unjustifiably denied the information by the CPIO concerned. Vide order dated 24 December 2013, the FAA while upholding the reply of the CPIO recorded that no larger public interest was established by the appellant for the disclosure of such information.
3. Dissatisfied with the response of the public authority, the appellant preferred appeal before the Commission.
4. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant’s representative stated that the appellant is the sole proprietor of Subas & Company dealing with PNB, Bhubaneswar for their bullion trade since 11.1.2012. On 15.5.2012 vide Challan No. 54 they had received only 2 Kgs of (.999) Gold Bar as per the order/requirement and just to mention that the challan was duly signed by the authorized bank official and her staff member, who was authorized to receive the gold bar on her behalf. But the appellant noticed that the carbon copy of the Bank’s office copy of challan No. 54 dated 15.5.2012 was tampered to (1+2) Kg instead of 2 kg gold bar in favour of appellant’s company. She further noticed discrepancy in the Bank’s stock movement register. She complained about the shortage in appellant’s account. On her complaint, Shri Virendra Chopra of PNB was appointed as investigating officer who perused all documents at her office. As such the appellant is entitled to know the outcome of the report. The respondents stated that the appellant had made a wrong verification in her second appeal stating that no case is pending before any Court of Law even though a case is pending with State Consumer Court. The respondents further added that the FAA had passed another order dated 11.11.2014 vide which the appellant was provided with a copy of Gold Delivery Order from 1.5.2012 to 31.5.2012 and Tax Invoice from 1.5.2012 to 31.5.2012. The FAA denied copy of stock register under the provisions of 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 (j) and report conducted by Shri Virendra Chopra, Internal Chief Auditor under the provisions of 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 RTI Act.
5. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Commission directs the CPIO to provide photocopy of stock register by severing the third party information as provided u/s 10 of the RTI Act, within one week of receipt of this order. The investigation report against the employee of the PNB cannot be provided under the provisions of Section 8(1) ((j) of the RTI Act. In this connection the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the matter of Girish Ramchandra Deshpande Vs. CIC & Ors (SLP(Civil) No. 27734 of 2012) dated 3.10.2012 is relevant where the Apex Court held that copies of all memos, show cause notices and orders of censure/punishment are qualified to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Ms. Purnima Sahu v. Punjab National Bank in Appeal: No. CIC/MP/A/2014/000274