Information regarding passenger manifest was provided by PIO - CIC: Once confidential information is disclosed, it is extremely difficult for the Appellate Courts to put the clock back; No restriction upon applicant for further transmission of information
Both parties are present and are heard. The appellant vide identical RTI applications has sought information regarding details of chartered plane/general aviation of non-schedule flights within India (domestic), which have taken off since January1, 2001 along with revenue earned and passenger manifest of the same, from various Airports across India.Details of all these are reproduced below in a tabulated form:
Appeal No. RTI Date PIO’s reply First appeal FAA’s order
001859 16.09.2013 03.10.2013 20.11.2013 No order
001874 16.09.2013 25.10.2013 20.11.2013 10.01.2014
001877 16.09.2013 23.10.2013 20.11.2013 10.01.2014
001879 16.09.2013 31.10.2013 20.11.2013 10.01.2014
001880 16.09.2013 14.11.2013 20.11.2013 16.01.2014
001881 16.09.2013 17.10.2013 20.11.2013 16.01.2014
As the issue in the abovementioned appeals is the same, these cases are being heard & decided together.
The appellant filed 6 RTI applications seeking the same information, in response to which he has received replies from all the PIOs. He has stated that he is seeking this information regarding public figures, in public interest. He stated that the general public is interested in knowing where these people are going and with whom. He stated that he is a journalist and that is why he wants the passenger manifest.
The respondent from Nagpur stated that the information was provided to the appellant as per record. He stated that the information is maintained only for one year and that the same was informed to the appellant. He further stated that information on Point 3 was transferred to MIL, Nagpur who later on provided information in around 600pgs including the passenger manifest.The respondent from Indore stated that information on Points 1 & 2 was provided to the appellant, but the passenger manifest was denied u/s 8(1) (j). The respondent from Ahmadabad stated that information was provided to the appellant on all the points. The respondent from Pune stated that information on Points 1 & 2 was provided to the appellant, but the passenger manifest was denied u/s 8(1) (j). The respondent from Mumbai also stated that information on Points 1 & 2 was provided to the appellant, but the passenger manifest was denied u/s 8(1) (j). The respondent from Vishakhapatnam stated that information on Points 1 & 2 was provided to the appellant, but the passenger manifest was denied u/s 8(1) (j).The respondent representing FAA from Chennai stated that the appellant had filed two application seeking the same information and that initially, the information regarding passenger manifest was denied u/s 8(1)(j); however, the same was later on allowed. He stated that the appellant was requested to pay Rs. 250/- for the same, which he has not paid till date, due to which information has not been provided to him. The respondent PIO from Chennai stated that information on Points 1 & 2 was provided to the appellant and Point 3 u/s 8(1) (j) was denied as the same was personal information. He further stated that the dept. did not receive the copy of the second appeal.
Written submissions have been filed by Shri Manish Kumar, Nagpur vide letter dt. 25.06.2015 and Shri Promod Kumar, Asst.GM (Ops.) vide letter dt.24.06.2015.
The Commission finds that the information on Points 1 & 2 has been provided by the respondent authority in the above cases. As for Point 3, information regarding passenger manifest has been provided to the appellant by PIOs, Nagpur and Ahmedabad. However, the list of passengers travelling by chartered plane have not been provided by other PIOs on account of it being in the nature of personal information of the passengers concerned. Moreover, the appellant had failed to establish any larger public interest for disclosure of the same. The Commission notes with concern that information regarding passenger manifest has been provided to the appellant by some PIOs, when exemption clause of Section 8 of RTI Act should have been invoked. The Commission, in its decision, in case no.CIC/SM/A/2012/000907 vide order dt. 14.02.2013, held that the list of passengers travelling by the Helicopter service run by the administration should not be provided, being in the nature of personal information of the passengers concerned.
The Commission, therefore, cautions the PIO/FAA to deal with RTI applications/first appeals as per provisions of the Act. The Gujarat High Court in Reliance Industries Ltd. V. Gujarat State Information (AIR 2007 Guj 203) had held that Right to get information and right to treat the particular
information as confidential is to be seen through the provisions of the Act, 2005 by Public Information Officer before disclosing the information because once the information is disclosed, which is confidential, it is extremely difficult for the higher/Appellate Courts to put the clock back. Release of information is like air or smell. Once it is allowed to spread over, it cannot be called back, by Appellate Forums. There is no restriction upon applicant, for further transmission of information, after getting the same.
Further, the Commission directs the Chairman, Airport Authority of India to organise training programmes u/s 19(8)(a)(v) for familiarizing the CPIO/FAAs with the RTI regime and provisions laid down under law.The Deputy Registrar of Registry of this Bench is directed to mark a copy of this order to Chairman, Airport Authority of India, within one week, for necessary action. With these observations, the appeals are disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Shri Md. Hizbullah v. Airport Authority of India &Directorate General of Civil Aviation in F.No.CIC/YA/A/2014/001859 F.No.CIC/YA/A/2014/001874 F.No.CIC/YA/A/2014/001877 F.No.CIC/YA/A/2014/001879 F.No.CIC/YA/A/2014/001880 F.No.CIC/YA/A/2014/001881