Should the name of women employee who files a complaint of sexual harassment be disclosed?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the North Western Railway seeking information related to women officials in various Divisions of NW Railway as also action taken on a letter written by him and other employees to the General Manager. He also wanted the names of the women employees who had lodged complaints about being sexually harassed. The Public Information Officer (PIO) did not provide the information. The Central Information Commission (CIC) directed the PIO to provide the information to the appellant. Thereafter, the appellant once again approached the Commission stating that the decision of the Commission has not been complied with.
During the second hearing the before Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that the number of women employees in the Jaipur Division and the names of 3 women employees who had filed complaints were provided to the appellant. The respondent further stated that the details regarding the name, designation etc. of women employees were not furnished as the same were not available in a compiled form. The respondent also submitted that RTI application was transferred to other divisions by the HQ and that she is not aware whether information has been supplied by them or not to the appellant.
View of CIC
The Commission directed the PIO, Jaipur division to allow the appellant to inspect the records pertaining to the details of women staff, so that he can compile the information for himself. The Commission however, held that the copies of the complaints cannot be provided 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 as they are personal in nature and that the disclosure of the information has no relation to any public interest or activity. The Commission also directed the PIO, North Western Railway HQ to transfer the RTI application to all other Divisions of NW Rly along with a copy of this order directing the concerned PIOs to furnish the information.
The different benches of the CIC are taking different views on identical issues. For a contrary view, please refer to http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/details-sexual-harassment-complaints-bhu-was-sough There is a need to maintain harmonious view on the issue and a consistent stand should be taken by the CIC.
Citation: Mr. Jethanand v. North Western Railway Jaipur Division in File No: CIC/AD/C/2013/000244
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1315
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission