Under RTI, can the contents of a complaint filed with CVC be disclosed?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) in respect of a complaint (against the appellant) which the CVC had forwarded for investigation to the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) of the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The appellant wanted to inspect the file in which the complaint had been dealt with and a copy of the complaint. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information on the ground that the CVC held such complaints in a fiduciary capacity and considered the disclosure of such complaints as a breach of trust with the Complainant. He invoked the provisions of sections 8(1)(e) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; and 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; of the RTI Act in support of his decision.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that unless the complainant specifically demands confidentiality, it could not be presumed that every complaint is received in confidence. The CIC noted that the complaint had triggered action against the appellant affecting his career and it would be very unfair not to allow him access to this complaint. The CIC directed the PIO to forward the copy of the complaint to the appellant. In case the complainant had desired his complaint to be kept confidential, then the PIO may adopt the procedure laid down in section 11 of the RTI Act before deciding whether to disclose the complaint or not. The CIC also directed the PIO to provide to the appellant the photocopies of the relevant file noting dealing with the complaint.
Citation: Mr. Sushil Kumar v. Central Vigilance Commission in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/000849
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/927
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission