Information regarding implementation of a particular CIC order was denied stating that PMO has filed a writ petition with HC - CIC: denial of information about how the public authority wishes to defend itself is convincing; appeal rejected
1. Vide RTI dt 21.2.13, appellant had sought information including file notings, decisions, correspondence, approvals, opinion and advice given and sought relating to implementation of CIC order in case no.CIC/SM/A/2012/001199.
2. CPIO PMO vide letter dt 9.5.13, informed appellant that since the PMO has filed an application with CIC for review of the decision in case no. CIC/SM/A/2012/001199, no information pertaining to the case can be provided.
3. CPIO on behalf of AA, vide order dt 14.6.13, informed appellant that the PMO had filed an application before CIC for review of its decision. Thereafter CIC had passed a corrigendum dt 21.5.13 in which they have endorsed the stand of the office for not to provide a copy of the impugned letter and the information is exempted u/s 8(1)(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence; and (j) of the RTI Act. This was informed to the appellant vide letter dt 6.6.13 along with a copy of CIC corrigendum dt 21.5.13. Appeal was disposed of.
4. Written submissions are received from CPIO, dt 11.7.14, and are taken on record. It is submitted that the information sought by the appellant cannot be provided as copies of internal deliberations were not meant for disclosure to the applicant in view of CIC decision no. CIC/AT/C/2008/00025 dt 27.7.09 in the matter of Milap Choraria Vs CBDT. It is also submitted that the appellant has filed a civil writ petition before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, challenging the order of the CIC, dt 21.5.13 (order no.CIC/SM/2012/1199).
5. Submissions made by the appellant and public authority were heard. Appellant submitted that the Commission should revisit the Milap Choraria case referred to by the public authority and the information sought be provided to him. CPIO reiterated that the full bench decision of the Commission was supportive of their stand and the information sought should be denied.
6. The Commission has revisited the issue and the relevant para of the Commission’s decision in the case of Milap Choraria (decision no.CIC/AT/C/2008/00025 dt 27.7.2009) is extracted below:
“42. In our view, respondents have persuasively argued that under Section 11(1) Where a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose any information or record, or part thereof on a request made under this Act, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall, within five days from the receipt of the request, give a written notice to such third party of the request and of the fact that the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose the information or record, or part thereof, and invite the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information should be disclosed, and such submission of the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information: of the Act, there are compelling grounds for them to hold confidential information relating to how they wished to defend their legal position in litigation or a threatened litigation. Their reference to the violation of the norms of equity in allowing the very person, who seeks to drag the public authority to court, all information about how the public authority wishes to defend itself is also quite convincing.”
In the light of the above, the decision of the CPIO/AA is upheld and the appeal is disposed of.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Aseem Takyar v. PMO, New Delhi in File No.CIC/DS/A/2013/001958/RM