Entries in Birth and Death Register are public documents and cannot be termed a 'Third Party Information'
Vide application dated 20.11.2019, Mr Rajesh Kumar Sharma, Advocate sought information from the PIO, O/o Block Development Officer, Rampur Bushehr, District Shimla for providing copy of Death Certificate, Legal heir Certificate and BPL Certificate with respect to late Mr Baldev, Resident of village Dakolar, Post office Shingla.
As per provision 11 (1) of the RTI Act, a notice was issued to the wife of deceased. It was intimated by Smt. Usha, (Third Party) w/o late Mr Baldev, to PIO that copies of Death Certificate, Legal Heir and BPL certificates pertaining to her husband should not be provided to the Advocate and accordingly, the Advocate was apprised by PIO that the said information cannot be provided as per Rule 8(1) and Section 11 of the RTI Act, 2005.
No First Appeal and Second Appeal was filed as per Section 19(1) Any person who, does not receive a decision within the time specified in sub¬section (1) or clause (a) of sub-section (3) of section 7, or is aggrieved by a decision of the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may within thirty days from the expiry of such period or from the receipt of such a decision prefer an appeal to such officer who is senior in rank to the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer as the case may be, in each public authority: Provided that such officer may admit the appeal after the expiry of the period of thirty days if he or she is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal in time. and (3) of the RTI Act respectively by the applicant.
Views of the High Court
The High Court held that “Once a party has died, his death certificate cannot be termed a 'Third Party Information', as that information relates/related only to the deceased. Therefore, it is not understood how this could be termed to be a third party information so as to claim exemption from disclosure under third party information”.
The Court further observed that “It is more than settled that entries in Birth and Death Register are public documents and admissible under Section 35 of the Indian Evidence Act and it is not necessary to prove, who made the entries and what was the source of information”.
The Court directed that “henceforth whenever a copy of death certificate is demanded by any person or authority under Right to Information Act, or even on simple paper, the same shall be given by all the Panchayat Secretaries in the State of Himachal Pradesh, subject to of course on usual charges”.
The Director (Panchayati Raj), Himachal Pradesh, has issued necessary instructions to all the District Panchayat Officers and all the Block Development Officers in Himachal Pradesh, apprising them of the order of the High Court that was passed on 27th August, 2021.
Citation: HP High Court in OIC Ltd. v. Hira Devi, FAO (WCA) 417 of 2012, Dated 27.08.2021 and 03.09.2021
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2021/CIC/1500
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission