Is submission of details for issue of passport a public activity?
Three individuals filed separate applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Passport Office seeking information regarding third party passport holders like the copies of their passport applications and their travel details. The Public Information Officer (PIO) claimed that the information was personal in nature and is exempt from disclosure 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.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) accepted the contentions of the PIO and rejected the appeal.
The travel details of an individual and the details furnished by a citizen for getting a passport contain a lot of personal information. Just because it is used for issuing an official document does not mean that it has a relation to a public activity or public interest. The disclosure of such information has a potential of causing unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the passport holder and is, therefore, exempt from disclosure until it serves larger public interest.
Citation: Mr. Rasheedkhan K, V S Deshmane and N R Krishna Rao v. Passport Office and Ministry of External Affairs in File No.CIC/SM/A/2012/001318, 1332, 1338 & 1375
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1248
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission