Seeking details of birth certificates of players registered in different age categories by AITA - CIC: Allegation regarding some players getting into wrong categories by submitting false age certificates is not a ground establishing larger public interest
This matter pertains to an RTI application dated 20.1.2014 filed by the Appellant, seeking information on two points regarding details of birth certificates submitted by all players registered in Under 12, Under 14 & Under 16 categories by the AITA, during the period 1.1.2008 to 1.1.2014. The CPIO responded on 12.2.2014 and denied the information on the ground that it was the personal information of the players. He cited the Commission’s decision No. CIC/LS/A/2012/002868 dated 28.1.2013 in support of his response to the Appellant. The Appellant filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority on 11.3.2014. In his order dated 9.4.2014, the FAA upheld the decision of the CPIO. The Appellant filed second appeal dated 13.5.2014 to the CIC, which was received by the Commission the same day.
2. The Appellant was not present in spite of a written notice having been sent to him. However, in his second appeal, he stated that the reason for refusing the information was not sufficient because the content of information sought by the applicant in the case cited by the CPIO was different from the information sought by him (the Appellant). He further stated that the above decision dated 28.1.2013 was given by the Commission in the absence of the Appellant in that case. According to the Appellant, disclosure of the information sought by him is a matter of larger public interest because some players provide wrong certificates of age and play in the categories, for which they are not qualified.
3. The Respondents reiterated the decision conveyed by the CPIO on 12.2.2014. According to them, they insist that each player, who seeks registration, provides a municipal certificate as proof of age. In addition, each player has to provide an additional proof by way of a passport, AADHAAR card or a certificate from school. They further submitted that the information sought for a period of six years would cover thousands of players and its compilation would, therefore, be a very time consuming task.
4. In the case covered by the Commission’s decision dated 28.1.2013, copies of the documents submitted by top twenty rank players for the purpose of age verification etc. were sought. In its order, the Commission made the following observations:
“7. Shri Batra explains that the certificates relating to the dates of birth of the players have been deposited with AITA in a fiduciary capacity. Besides, it is personal information relating to the players and it is not disclosable. He also submits that personal information can be disclosed only in the larger public interest but the appellant has not adduced any evidence to establish such larger public interest. It is, thus, his forceful contention that requested information is not disclosable to the appellant. However, he regrets that the CPIO did not respond to this query in correct manner ab initio. I am inclined to accept the contention of Shri Batra that the Municipal certificates regarding the dates of birth of the players available with AITA are ‘personal’ information respecting these players. Personal information can be disclosed only in the larger public interest. The appellant has not appeared before the Commission to establish any such larger public interest. Nor has he submitted any material before the Commission to canvass his case. In the premises, I am inclined to dismiss the appeal.”
The Appellant has stated in his second appeal that the information sought by him is different from the information sought in the above case, but has not explained as to how it is so. If the intention of the Appellant was to get information regarding the type of documents that are obtained by the Respondents to establish the age of players, the submission of the Respondents in paragraph 3 above provides this information. If, on the other hand, the information sought is copies of certificates regarding proof of age, the Commission’s decision dated 28.1.2013 is applicable in this case also. The Appellant’s allegation regarding some players getting into wrong categories by submitting false age certificates cannot be treated as a ground establishing larger public interest.
5. In view of the foregoing, we would not interfere with the decision of the Respondents in this case.
6. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
7. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Pradeep Kalher v. All India Tennis Association in File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/001318