PIO should explain why an information is exempt from disclosure under a specific section
The Appellant sought the names and the detailed information of the first 300 candidates who secured highest marks in an examination held in December 2010. He also asked about the marks secured by a particular roll number and its interview time. The appellant wanted to know his rank in the Schedule Caste (SC) category and the marks of the last SC candidate who was selected. The PIO provided the marks obtained of the particular number but on the other two details were denied under Section 8 (1) (d) & (j).
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission observed that Section 8(1) (d) exempts information, 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. Holding that the respondent has neither shown as to how the information sought can be claimed to be commercial information, trade Secret or intellectual property, nor has any justification been provided whose competitive position is likely to be harmed, the Commission held that the exemption under 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; appears to have been claimed without any ground. The Commission further held that the information is not personal and directed for disclosure of the information.
The phrase disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest means that the information must have a Public interface. Various Public authorities in performing their functions routinely ask for 'personal' information from Citizens, and the disclosure of such information under the RTI Act has been an issue of contention largely because there is no law defining personal information in India.
Citation: Mr. Basant Barve v. Dena Bank in file no. CIC/SG/A/2011/003726
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/146
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