Seeking reasons for rejection of candidature by UPSC using RTI
The appellant had applied for the post of Deputy Director, Anthropological Survey of India. The UPSC had rejected his candidature. Later he filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information related to rejection of his own candidature; about the other candidates who had applied for the post and about the members of the Interview Board. He wanted the copies of the relevant UPSC records showing the reasons for the rejection of his candidature, the experience and educational profile of other candidates and also of the members of the Interview Board. The Public information officer (PIO) provided part information and denied the rest under sections 8(1)(e), 8(1)(g) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes; and 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.
During the hearing before the Central Information commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that he was not interested in the identity of individuals but only in their academic and experience credentials. The respondent submitted that whatever information could have been disclosed had already been provided. The respondent also argued that the academic and experience details of the candidates as well as those of the board members could not be disclosed because the UPSC treated such information as personal information and even the Supreme Court of India had stayed the direction of the CIC directing disclosure of such information in several similar cases.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the PIO had already provided the photocopies of the records regarding rejection of the candidature of the appellant. If any other file noting or document on the subject remains undisclosed the same should be provided to the appellant. The CIC also held that since the Supreme Court has put a stay on the disclosure of information which would identify the individuals concerned thus the information including the individual records, such as, educational and experience certificates of candidates cannot be disclosed until the matter is finally decided by the Supreme Court. The Commission, however, directed the PIO to provide the number of candidates possessing the minimum educational qualification prescribed including the experience; the number of candidates not possessing the minimum educational qualification and experience; the highest educational qualification of each member of the Interview Board and the highest post, academic or governmental, held by each of them. CIC also directed the PIO to not to reveal the names or any other identity markers so as to keep the individual identity protected. The Commission further ruled that once the Supreme Court decides the matter pending before it, every public authority including the UPSC would have to act according to the law established by the Supreme Court. Based on the Supreme Court decision in the case, the UPSC will deal with all such future cases and cases like the present one.
Citation: Mr. Babul Roy v. Union Public Service Commission in File No.CIC/SM/A/2011/002650 & 2996
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/644
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