Information regarding a retired third party bank employee was denied u/s 8(1)(j) - Appellant: information needed to defend himself in a dowry case filed against him - CIC: any information considered necessary for his defence may be obtained through court
The appellant sought information about the service records of the third party retired employee like his date of joining the bank service & period of service, his date of retirement or termination from service, his gross salary with detailed breakup, copies of his TDS certificates for a period of three years, photocopy and details of his qualifications, biodata and age proof based on which he joined service, any loan taken by him, details of his retirement benefits and photocopy of his daily attendance for a period of fourteen months etc. - Appellant: a criminal complaint alleging harassment of his daughter has been filed by the Appellant on account of dowry & information is needed to defend himself in a dowry case filed against him - CIC: appellant may seek any information which he considers necessary for his defence, through the court
This matter pertains to an RTI application dated 22.9.2012 filed by the Appellant, seeking information on ten points regarding a retired third party employee of the Respondent Bank. The information sought covered the following aspects concerning the third party retired employee: his date of joining the bank service and period of service, his date of retirement or termination from service, his gross salary with detailed breakup, copies of his TDS certificates for a period of three years, photocopy and details of his qualifications , biodata and age proof based on which he joined service, any loan taken by him, details of his retirement benefits and photocopy of his daily attendance for a period of fourteen months etc. The CPIO responded on 5.10.2012. Not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO, the Appellant filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority on 20.11.2012. Not having heard from the FAA, the Appellant approached the CIC in second appeal on 18.1.2013.
2. We heard the submissions of the Appellant and the Respondents. The Respondents reiterated the decision of the CPIO to deny the information under Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act, as it pertained to a third party. The Appellant stated that the third party retired employee is his father in law. He had filed a criminal complaint against the Appellant, alleging harassment of his daughter by the Appellant on account of dowry. The Appellant further submitted that in view of the above mentioned complaint, he (the Appellant) is defending himself in a dowry case filed against him by the state. He, therefore, has sought the information mentioned in his RTI application, as it will help the process of justice in relation to the case against him.
3. Having considered the records and the submissions made before us, we note that most of the queries in the RTI application concern the service matters of a third party retired employee of the Respondent Bank. These are matters between him and the employer and are covered under Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act. Such information cannot be disclosed unless larger public interest warrants its disclosure. Coming to some specific issues, the Appellant has sought information regarding the TDS certificates of the third party retired employee for a period of three years. In this context, we note that in its judgment dated 3.10.2012 in Girish Ramchandra Despande vs. Central Information Commissioner and Ors., the Hon’ble Supreme Court has observed as follows:“ The details disclosed by a person in his income tax returns are “personal information” which stand exempted from disclosure under clause (j) of Section 8 (1) of the RTI Act, unless involves a larger public interest and 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.”
4. Similarly, the Appellant has sought information regarding the qualifications, biodata and age proof of the third party retired employee, based on which he was recruited by the Respondent Bank. In this context, we note that in its judgment dated 6.8.2013 in Union Public Service Commission vs. Gourhari Kamila, the Hon’ble Supreme Court struck down a decision of the Central Information Commission, directing the UPSC to disclose information regarding the details of experience of some third party candidates, who had participated in a selection process. The above decision is relevant in this case.
5. The Appellant has not established any larger public interest that would warrant disclosure of most of the information sought by him. Accordingly, we would not interfere with the decision of the Respondents to deny information on points No. 1, 2 and 4 to 9 of the RTI application under Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act. The Appellant is at liberty to seek any of this information, which he considers necessary for his defence, through the court in which the case against him is pending. However, with regard to point No. 3 of the RTI application (seeking information regarding the gross salary and its various components), we note that under Section 4 (1) (b) of the RTI Act, each public authority is required to publish information, inter alia, regarding the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations. Accordingly, the CPIO is directed to provide information regarding the gross monthly emoluments which were drawn by the bank’s employees of the rank, which the third party retired employee was holding at the time of his retirement. The CPIO is also directed to provide information in response to Point No. 10 of the RTI application, regarding the name, designation, address and contact number of the authority in the bank, with whom complaints can be lodged by the public against retired employees regarding their misconduct / corruption. The CPIO is further directed to provide information as per our above directives to the Appellant, within thirty days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission.
6. With the above directions and observations, the appeal is disposed of.
7. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Sh. Suresh Kr. Sharma v. Central Bank of India in File No. CIC/VS/A/2013/000420/SH