Seeking information regarding subscribers of five telephone connections provided by MTNL - third party personal information is exempt u/s 8(1)(j) – CIC: provide information relating to the subscribers which is already in public domain
The appellant has filed five RTI applications seeking identical information relating to landline telephone nos. 6442823, 26431896, 28101387, 26411864 & 26772004, the information sought is as follows:
1. Consumer application Form.
2. Name and proper address of consumer where the said telephone is in operation.
3. Proof of residential address such as electricity bills, election card, ration card, electricity supply bill, society maintenance bill, PAN/GIR No. card and detail of payment with regard to application for subscription.
4. Gender of the applicant.
5. Whether the said telephone is working or not.
6. Whether the consumer has cancelled/surrendered the telephone or it has been disconnected by MTNL, if so under which circumstances it has been disconnected.
7. Billing detail.
8. Contact person.
9. Tariff plan.
10. Mode of payment.
Grounds for the Second Appeal: The PIO has denied the information after following the due process under section 11 of the RTI Act and the concerned third party(s) has not given his consent for disclosure of the same.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing: The appellant stated that he had asked for information regarding five telephone connections provided by the MTNL but the details have not been furnished and the FAA did not give him any opportunity of hearing. The CPIO’s representative stated that the information sought by the appellant relates to a third party and they had followed the process as laid down under Section 11 of the RTI Act but the subscribers have refused to give their consent. The appellant pleaded that the subscribers are not third parties but are closely related to him and he is pursing two court cases against them. The CPIO contested stating that the appellant may be a relative of the subscribers but he is still a third party and the MTNL is bound to protect the confidentiality of the information relating to any subscriber being exempt under section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act unless the seeker of information is able to show larger public interest to justify the disclosure. The appellant pleaded that at least the information which is in public domain regarding the subscribers should be provided. The CPIO agreed.
As agreed the CPIO should provide the information relating to the subscribers which is in public domain to the appellant, free of cost, within 7 days from the date of receipt of this order. The appeals are disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Khaja Ahmed Hussain v. MTNL in File No. CIC/BS/A/2012/001426+001427+001443+001445+001446/3517