Information regarding disciplinary action against some employees was sought - Respondent: Appellant was not a party to the chargesheet issued to the third party employees, regarding whom information was sought - CIC: Denial of information upheld
This matter, pertaining to an RTI application dated 11.1.2014 filed by the Appellant, seeking information on twenty nine points regarding disciplinary action against some third party employees of the bank, came up today. The Appellant stated that the information was denied to him under Section 8 (1) (h) of the RTI Act. The Respondents stated that the information sought pertains to third parties and cannot be provided to the Appellant. The Appellant submitted that this plea was not taken earlier and was being taken by the Respondents at this stage. The Appellant also stated that he was charge - sheeted in the same matter in which the third party employees, about whom information was sought in his RTI application, were chargesheeted and was a “management witness” in the case of one of them. The Respondents stated that a separate chargesheet was issued to the Appellant and he was not a party to the chargesheets issued to the third party employees, regarding whom information was sought.
2. We have considered the records and the submissions made by both the parties before us. In the above context, we note the following observations made by the Supreme Court in its judgment dated 3.10.2012 in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande Vs. Central Information Commissioner & Ors. :
“ 13. We are in agreement with the CIC and the courts below that the details called for by the petitioner i.e. copies of all memos issued to the third respondent, show cause notices and orders of censure/punishment etc. are qualified to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. The performance of an employee/officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression "personal information", the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On the other hand, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual. Of course, in a given case, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed but the petitioner cannot claim those details as a matter of right.”
The Appellant has not established any larger public interest, warranting disclosure of the information sought by him. His grievance concerning the disciplinary action taken against him cannot become the ground of larger public interest. Therefore, we would not interfere with the decision of the Respondents to deny the information sought by him. However, while making the above observations, we cannot help noting the fact that the response dated 20.3.2014 of the CPIO, instead of dealing with the queries of the RTI application, spoke about the disciplinary action taken against the Appellant. We would hope that the CPIO would exercise greater care in responding to RTI applications in future.
3. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
4. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri B. Somannasetty v. Pragathi Krishna Gramin Bank in File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/001470