Respondent: As per Section 16 of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, the identity & addresses of the aggrieved woman, respondent & witnesses shall not be published or made known to public - CIC: PIO to pass a speaking order on RTI application
1. The appellant, Shri Lalu Varghese submitted RTI application dated 11.02.2014 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), State Bank of India, Thiruvananthapuram seeking copy of enquiry report on his complaint dated 24.10.2013 addressed to the Chairperson, SBI and action taken report pertaining to his complaint on sexual harassment to his wife at work place.
2. The CPIO vide letter dated 03.03.2014 informed the appellant that the information sought could not be provided under the provisions of Section 8(1)(h) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; of the RTI Act as the disclosure of information at that point of time would impede the process of investigation. Dissatisfied with the reply of the CPIO, the appellant filed an appeal on 7.3.2014 before the first appellate authority (FAA). The FAA vide order dated 14.3.2014 concurred with the reply of the CPIO.
3. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant stated that his wife Smt. Susy George had 28 years of service in the Bank. On 24.8.2013 she joined the Kayamkulam branch as Field Officer. The appellant filed a complaint before the Chairperson, SBI regarding sexual harassment at workplace. The appellant sought copy of report under Section 13 of Sexual Harassment Act. He wanted copy of enquiry report conducted by Internal Committee and another by Woman Officer of the rank of AGM. The respondents stated that appellant’s wife is working in SBI. They had conducted an inquiry by the Internal Committee constituted under Sexual Harassment Committee and the Committee’s report and the findings of the Committee had already been communicated to Smt. Susy George the wife of the appellant. They further added that as per Section 16 of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 states: “notwithstanding anything contained in the RTI Act, 2005, the contents of the complaint made u/s 9, the identity and addresses of the aggrieved woman, respondent and witnesses, any information relating to conciliation and inquiry proceedings, recommendations of the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, and the action taken by the employer or the District Officer under the provisions of this Act, shall not be published, communicated or made known to the public, press and media in any manner. Provided that information may be disseminated regarding justice secured to any victim on sexual harassment under this Act without disclosing the name, address, identity or any other particulars calculated to lead to the identification of the aggrieved women and witnesses”. The appellant has no locus standi to file complaint on behalf of his wife. Only the aggrieved can complain and the respondents had already communicated the findings of the Sexual Harassment Committee to Smt. Susy wife of the appellant.
5. The Commission accepts the submissions of the respondents. However, the CPIO is directed to pass a speaking order on appellant’s RTI application within one week of receipt of this order. The appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Shri Lalu Varghese v. State Bank of India in Appeal: No. CIC/MP/A/2014/001168