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RTI >> Judgments >> Supreme Court >> Brief facts of the Judgment
S.No. SUPREME COURT CASE DATE OF JUDGMENT JUDGMENT
1 Contempt Petition (C) No.928 of 2016
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26 Apr, 2019 Girish Mittal Vs. Parvati V. Sundaram & Anr.

Brief facts of the judgment

The subject matter of the judgment in Reserve Bank of India v. Jayantilal N. Mistry1 is whether the information sought under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as the ‘RTI Act’) can be denied by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the other banks on the ground of economic interest, commercial confidence, fiduciary relationship or public interest. The facts of all the 11 Writ Petitions which were transferred to this Court are similar. The information that was sought by the Respondents in the transfer cases was refused on the ground that there was a fiduciary relationship between the RBI and the other banks, and hence, the information cannot be disclosed in view of the exemption under Section 8(1)(d) and (e) of the RTI Act. In all the cases that were transferred to this Court, the Central Information Commissioner directed the RBI to disclose the information sought for by the Respondents in the transfer cases. The RBI assailed the orders passed by the Central Information Commission by filing Writ Petitions in the High Courts which were transferred to this Court and decided by the judgment dated 16.12.2015. In the said judgment dated 16.12.2015, this Court held that the Right to Information Act, 2005 overrides all earlier laws in order to achieve its objective and the only exceptions to access to information were those which were contained in Section 8 of the RTI Act. The argument of the RBI that the information sought for by the Respondents therein was rightly refused on the ground of fiduciary relationship, was rejected by this Court. It was observed by this Court that there is no fiduciary relationship between the RBI and the financial institutions and by attaching an additional ‘fiduciary’ label to the statutory duty, regulatory authorities have intentionally or unintentionally created an in terrorem effect. This Court further emphasized that RBI has a statutory duty to uphold the interests of the public-at-large, the depositors and the country’s economy and the banking sector. This Court was also of the opinion that the RBI should act with transparency and not hide information that might embarrass the individual banks and that the RBI is dutybound to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act and disclose the information sought by the Respondents therein. The submission made on behalf of the RBI that the disclosure would hurt the economic interests of the country was found to be totally misconceived. While referring to Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, this Court was of the opinion that the intent of the Legislature was to make available to the general public such information which had been obtained by the public authorities from private bodies. On the basis of the above observations, it was held that the RBI is liable to provide information regarding inspection reports and other documents to the general public.
2 Civil Appeal No. 5665/2014
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11 Apr, 2019 Institute of Companies Secretaries of India Vs. Paras Jain

Brief facts of the judgment
This appeal is directed against the order dated 22.04.2014 of the Delhi High Court wherein, while allowing the Letters Patent Appeal, filed by the respondent herein, it set aside Guideline No.3 notified by the statutory council of appellant–Institute of Companies Secretaries of India and directed it to charge fee prescribed as per Rule 4 of the Right to Information (Regulation of Fee and Cost) Rules, 2005.

2. The factual matrix of the case is that the respondent appeared in the final examination for Company Secretary conducted by the Appellant in December, 2012. On being unsuccessful in qualifying the examination, the respondent made an application under the Right to Information Act for inspection of his answer sheets and subsequently, sought certified copies of the same from the appellant. The appellant thereafter has demanded Rs.500/per answer sheet payable for supply of certified copy(ies) of answer book(s) and Rs.450/per answer book for providing inspection thereof respectively as per Guideline No.3 notified by the statutory council of the appellant. It is to be noted that the respondent obtained the said information under the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Being aggrieved by the demand made by the appellant, the respondent preferred a Writ Petition before the Delhi High Court wherein the Learned Single Judge dismissed the petition. A Letters Patent Appeal was thereafter preferred by the respondent wherein, the Division Bench quashed Guideline No.3 notified by the appellant and held that the appellant can charge only the prescribed fee under Rule 4, The Right to Information (Regulation of Fees and Cost) Rules, 2005.
3 Review Petition (Criminal) No. 46 of 2019
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10 Apr, 2019 Yashwant Sinha & Ors. Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation through its director & anr.

Brief facts of the judgment
A preliminary objection with regard to the maintainability of the review petition has been raised by the Attorney General on behalf of the respondents. The learned Attorney General contends that the review petition lacks in bona fides inasmuch as three documents unauthorizedly removed from the office of the Ministry of Defence, Government of India, have been appended to the review petition and relied upon by the review petitioners. The three documents in question are:

(a) An eight page note written by three members of the Indian Negotiating Team (‘INT’) charged in reference to the Rafale Deal (note dated 01.06.2016).

(b) Note18 of the Ministry of Defence (Government of India), F.No. AirHQ/S/96380/3/ASR PCXXVI (Marked Secret
under the Official Secrets Act)

(c) Note10 written by S.K. Sharma (Deputy Secretary, MoD, AirIII), Note dated 24.11.2015 (Marked Secret under the Official Secrets Act)

It is contented that the alleged unauthorized removal of the documents from the custody of the competent authority of the Government of India and the use thereof to support the pleas urged in the review petition is in violation of the provisions of Sections 3 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923. It is further contended that the documents cannot be accessed under the Right to Information Act in view of the provisions contained in Section 8(1)(a) of the said Act. Additionally, the provisions contained in Section 123 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 have been pressed into service and privilege has been claimed so as to bar their disclosure in the public domain. Section 3, 5(1) of the Official Secrets Act; Section 8(1)(a) and 8(2) of the Right to Information Act and Section 123 of the Evidence Act.
4 Writ Petition(c) No 137 of 2018
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27 Sep, 2018 Aseer Jamal Vs Union of India

It has been asserted in the writ that illiterate persons and visually impaired persons or persons afflicted by other kinds of disabilities are not in a position to get the information to get the information.
Provision contained in section 6 suffers from unreasonable classification between visually impaired and visually abled persons violating article 14 of the constitution.
Certain provisions of the act are not accessible to orthopedically impaired persons below the poverty line and persons who do not have the internet.
Decision of the Supreme Court:
Proviso to section 6(1) makes it obligatory on the CPIO to render all reasonable assistance to the persons making the request orally to reduce the same in writing.
As per section 6 (3) we do not find that there can be any difficulty for any person to find out the public authority as there is a provision for transfer.
Several states provide information in Braille to the visually impaired.
Several hotline numbers provide toll free access to information available on the RTI website.
No further direction needs to be issued except granting liberty to the petitioner to submit a representation to the competent authority pointing out any other mode(s) available for getting information under the act.
Authorities to explore any kind of advanced technology that has developed in the meantime so that other methods can be introduced.
Writ petition accordingly disposed of.
5 Writ Petition (Civil) No.194 OF 2012
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20 Mar, 2018 Common Cause Vs. High Court of Allahabad & Anr.

Brief facts of the judgment
Challenge in these set of writ petitions is to the Rules framed under Section 28 of the Right to Information Act, 2005 (in short “the Act”).

Decision of Supreme Court
First objection of the petitioners is that the charges for the application fee and per page charges for the information supplied should be reasonable.

We are of the view that, as a normal Rule, the charge for the application should not be more than Rs.50/- and for per page information should not be more than Rs.5/-. However, exceptional situations may be dealt with differently. This will not debar revision in future, if situation so demands.

Second objection is against requiring of disclosure of motive for seeking the information. No motive needs to be disclosed in view of the scheme of the Act.

Third objection is to the requirement, in the Allahabad High Court Rules, for permission of the Chief Justice or the Judge concerned to the disclosure of information. We make it clear that the said requirement will be only in respect of information which is exempted under the scheme of the Act.

As regards the objection that under Section 6(3) of the Act, the public authority has to transfer the application to another public authority if information is not available, the said provision should also normally be complied with except where the public authority dealing with the application is not aware as to which other authority will be the appropriate authority.

As regards Rules 25 to 27 of the Allahabad High Court Rules which debar giving of information with regard to the matters pending adjudication, it is clarified that the same may be read consistent with Section 8 of the Act, more particularly sub-section (1) in Clause (J) thereof.

Wherever rules do not comply with the above observations, the same be revisited as our observations are based on mandate of the Act which must be complied with.

6 Civil Appeal Nos. 6159-6162, 5924 of 2013, SLP (C) Nos. 28817, 28801, 28811, 28816, 28805/2014 and SLP (C) No. ... of 2018
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20 Feb, 2018 Union Public Service Commission Ors. Vs Respondent: Angesh Kumar and Ors.

The respondents- writ petitioners were unsuccessful candidates in the civil service (prelim) exam, 2010. They approached the high court for a direction to the UPSC to disclose the details of marks (raw and scaled) awarded to them in the civil services prelim exam, 2010. The information in the form of cut off marks for every subject, scaling methodology, model answers and complete result of all candidates were also sought.
Decision of the single judge and the division bench of the high court:
Learned single judge directed that the information sought be provided within 15 days. The said view of the single judge has been affirmed by the division bench of the high court.
Decision of the Supreme Court:
Para 10 : weighing the need for transparency and accountability on the one hand and requirement of optimum use of fiscal resources and confidentiality of sensitive information on the other, we are of the view that the information sought with regard to the marks in civil services exam cannot be directed to be furnished mechanically. Situation of exams of other academic bodies may stand on different footing.
Furnishing raw marks will cause problems as pleaded by the UPSC as quoted above which will not be in public interest. However, if a case is made out where the court finds that public interest requires furnishing of information, the court is certainly entitled to so require in a given fact situation. If rules or practice so require, certainly such rule or practice can be enforced. In the present case direction has been issued without considering these parameters.
11. In view of the above, the impugned order(s) is set aside and the writ petitions filed by the writ petitioners are dismissed. This order will not debar the respondents from making out a case on the above parameters and approach the appropriate forum if so advised.
7 Civil Appeal No 22 of 2009
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31 Aug, 2017 Canara Bank Vs CS Shyam and Anr

The requester sought information under section 6 of the RTI act, 2005 regarding transfer and posting of the entire clerical staff from 1/1/02 to 31/7/06 in all the branches of the bank. The information was sought on 15 parameters with regard to various aspects of transfers of clerical staff and staff of the bank with regard to individual employees.
The information was in relation to the personal details of individual employee such as the date of joining, designation, details of promotion earned, transfer orders etc, etc.
The CPIO rejected the request on the grounds that the same was protected under section 8(1)(j) and secondly it had no nexus with any public interest or activity. The first appellate authority also rejected the requester’s appeal.
Aggrieved the requester filed an appeal before the CIC. By order dated 20/2/07 the appeal was allowed and accordingly directions were issued to the bank to furnish the information sought by the requester in his application.
Writ petition before the high court:
Single judge bench of the high court dismissed the writ petition filed by the appellant-bank.
Challenging the said order the appellant- bank filed writ appeal before the high court.
By the impugned order the division bench of the high court dismissed the appellant’s writ appeal and affirmed the order of the CIC which has given rise to this appeal.
Decision of the Supreme Court:
Firstly the information sought by the respondent of individual employees working in the bank was personal in nature; secondly, it was exempted from being disclosed under section 8(1)(j) of the act and lastly, neither respondent no 1 disclosed any public interest involved in seeking such information of the individual employee and nor any finding was recorded by the CIC and the high court as to the involvement of any larger public interest in supplying the information to the respondent.
In this view of the matter we allow the appeal, set aside the order of the high court and CIC and restore the orders passed by the CPIO and chief CPIO. As a result the application submitted by respondent no 1 stands rejected.
8 Case (Civil) No. 91 of 2015. Transfer Petition (Civil) No. 707 of 2012
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16 Dec, 2015 RBI Vs Jayntilal N Mistry

Detailed information relating to inspections of banks and financial authorities including the inspection reports carried out by the RBI were requested for by the requester under RTI act, 2005. RBI rejected the request on the ground of economic interest, commercial confidence, fiduciary relationship with other bank etc. The CIC ordered disclosure of the documents requested for. Writ petitions were filed by the RBI in appropriate courts against orders of the CIC.
Transfer petitions:
Various transfer petitions were filed by RBI seeking transfer of the writ petitions pending before different high courts. On 30/5/2015 while allowing the transfer petitions filed by RBI seeking transfer of various writ petitions filed by it in the high courts of Delhi and Bombay the Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the writ petitions to Supreme Court and directed to remit the entire record of the case to the Supreme Court within 4 weeks.
Decision of the Supreme Court:
Para 23 : the specific stand of the RBI is that the information sought for is exempted under section 8(1)(a), (d) &(e) of the RTI act,2005. As the regulator and the supervisor of the banking system, the RBI has discretion in the disclosure of such information in public interest.
Para 60 : RBI is supposed to uphold public interest and not the interest of individual banks. RBI is clearly not in any fiduciary relationship with any bank. RBI has no legal duty to maximize the benefit of any public sector or private sector bank, and thus there is no relationship of ‘trust’ between them. RBI has a statutory duty to uphold the interest of the public at large, the depositors, the country’s economy and the banking sector. Thus RBI ought to act with transparency and not hide information that might embarrass individual banks. It is duty bound to comply with the provisions of the RTI act and disclose the information sought by the respondents therein.
Para 61 : The baseless and unsubstantiated argument of the RBI that the disclosure would hurt the economic interest of the country is totally misconceived………
Para 62 : the exemption contained in section 8(1)(e) applies to exceptional cases and only with regard to certain pieces of information, for which disclosure is unwarranted or undesirable. If information is available with a regulatory agency not in fiduciary relationship, there is no reason to withhold the disclosure of the same.
Para 83 : there is no merit in all these cases and hence they are dismissed.
9 Civil appeal No. 9017 of 2013
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07 Oct, 2013 Thalappalam Ser. Coop. Bank Ltd. and others Versus State of Kerala and others

Whether a cooperative society registered under the Kerala cooperative societies act, 1969 will fall within the definition of “public authority” under section 2(h) of the RTI act,2005 and be bound by the obligations to provide information sought for by a citizen under the RTI act.
Writ petition before the Kerala high court (full bench):
A full bench of the Kerala high court answered the question in the affirmative and upheld the circular no 23 of 2006 dated 1/6/06 issued by the registrar of cooperative societies, stating that all the cooperative institutions coming under the administrative control of the registrar are public authorities within the meaning of section 2(h) of the RTI act and obliged to provide information as sought for.
The question was answered by the full bench in view of the conflicting views expressed by a division bench of the Kerala high court in writ appeal no 1688 of 2009, with an earlier judgement of the division bench reported in Thallapalam service coop bank limited vs union of India wherein the bench took the view that the question as to whether a coop society will fall under section 2 (h) of the RTI act is a question of fact, which will depend upon the question whether it is substantially financed directly or indirectly by the funds provided by the state govt. Which the court held has to be decided depending upon the facts situation in each case.
SLP before the Supreme Court:
The coop societies registered under the Kerala coop societies act will not fall within the definition of public authority as defined under section 2 (h) of the RTI act and the state Govt letter dated 5/5/06 and the circular dated 1/6/06 issued by the registrar of coop societies, Kerala to the extant made applicable to societies registered under the Kerala coop societies act would stand quashed in the absence of materials to show that they are owned, controlled or substantially financed by the appropriate Govt.
10 CIVIL APPEAL NO OF 2013 (arising out of SLP(C) No 22609 of 2012)
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16 Apr, 2013 R.K. JAIN APPELLANT VERSUS UNION OF INDIA & ANR

The requester sought copies of all note sheets and correspondence pages of file relating to a member CESTAT. The CPIO rejected the request on the ground that the information is exempted under 8(1)(j) of the RTI act,2005.
The first appellate authority also disallowed the appeal of the appellant citing same ground as cited by the CPIO.
Writ petition before the high court:
On being aggrieved the appellant filed a writ petition before the Delhi high court which was rejected by the learned single judge vide judgement dated 8/12/11 relying on a judgement of Delhi high court in Arvind Kejriwal vs CPIO.
On an appeal to the above order, by the impugned judgement dated 20/4/12 the division bench of the Delhi high court in LPA no 22 of 2012 dismissed the same.
Decision of the Supreme Court:
The petitioner in the instant case has not made a bonafide public interest in seeking information, the disclosure of such information would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual under section 8(1)(j) of the RTI act.
We are therefore of the view that the petitioner has not succeeded in establishing that the information sought for is for larger public interest. That being the fact, we are not inclined to entertain this SLP. Hence the same is dismissed.
11 SLP(c) ……/2013 cc 1853/2013 from the judgment and order dated 15/6/12 in WA no 3255/2010
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18 Jan, 2013 Karnataka Information Commissioner vs State Public Information Officer

Requester filed an application under section 6(1) of the RTI act,2005 and sought certain documents and information from the PIO of HC of Karnataka. The documents related to guidelines and rules pertaining to scrutiny and classification of writ petitions and the procedure followed by the Karnataka HC in respect of WP nos 26657 of 2004 and 17935 of 2006.
The PIO disposed of the application vide order dated 3/8/07 stating that the information sought is available in the Karnataka HC act and the rules and he can obtain the order sheets of the two writ petitions by filing appropriate application under the HC rules.
Decision of the KIC:
The requester filed a complaint under section 18 of the act before the KIC and made a grievance that the certified copies of the documents had not been made available to him.
The KIC allowed the complaint and directed the PIO to furnish the certified copies free of cost to the requester.
Decision of the Karnataka HC :
PIO challenged the aforesaid order in WP no 9418/2008. The learned single judge allowed the same and quashed the order of the commission stating that the Karnataka HC act and rules could be obtained from the market. As regards information relating to the writ petitions it is open for the requester to file an application for certified copies of the order sheet as per Karnataka HC rules.
The requester did not challenge the order of the learned single judge. Instead the KIC filed an appeal before the division bench along with an application for condonation of delay of 335 days delay. The division bench dismissed the application for condonation of delay and also held that the KIC cannot be treated as an aggrieved person.
Decision of the Supreme Court:
What has surprised us is that while the writ appeal was filed by the KIC, the SLP has been preferred by the Karnataka information commissioner. Learned counsel could not explain as to how the petitioner herein who was not an appellant before the division bench of the HC can challenge the impugned order. He also could not explain as to the locus of the commission to file appeal against the order of the single judge whereby its order has been set aside.
………The commission and the Karnataka information commissioner had no legitimate cause to challenge the order passed by the single judge and the division bench of the HC. Therefore the writ appeal filed by the commission was totally unwarranted and misconceived and the division bench of the HC did not commit any error by dismissing the same.
With the above observations the SLP is dismissed. For filing a frivolous petition the petitioner is saddled with cost of Rs 1,00,000/-.
12 Civil appeal no 9095 of 2012 Arising out of slp (c) no 7529 of 2009
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13 Dec, 2012 Manohar Manikrao vs State of Maharashtra

The requester filed an application before the SPIO under RTI act, 2005 seeking information pertaining to persons appointed through reservation, date of joining, caste verification committee report and persons who forwarded the caste certificate for verification after the due date and action taken. The SPIO forwarded the RTI application to the concerned deptt for the information. On non receipt of information within 30 days the requester filed an appeal before the FAA. Without waiting for the decision of the FAA the requester filed an appeal before the sic. The sic fixed a hearing in which the SPIO could not attend due to official commitment and he requested for new date. The sic however did not consider the request of the SPIO and allowed the appeal of the requester, directing the authority to initiate action against the SPIO as per service rules and that the action should be taken within 2 months and reported to the sic within one month. The SPIO thereafter filed a writ petition before the high court against the order of the sic.
Decision of the high court:
The high court dismissed the writ petition observing that the SPIO ought to have passed the appropriate orders in the matter rather than keeping the requester waiting. It was also noticed the contention that the application was so general and vague in nature that the information sought for could not be provided. However it did not accept the same.
Decision of the Supreme Court:
Para 14: state information commissions exercise very wide and certainly quasi judicial powers. In fact their functioning is akin to the judicial system rather than the executive decision making process.
Para 15 : it is a settled principle of law and does not require us to discuss this principle with any elaboration that adherence to the principles of natural justice is mandatory for such tribunal or bodies discharging such functions.
Para 21 : we may notice that proviso to section 20(1) specifically contemplates that before imposing the penalty contemplated under section 20(1), the commission shall give a reasonable opportunity of being heard to the concerned officer. However there is no such specific provision in relation to the matters covered under section 20(2). Section 20(2) empowers the CIC/SIC as the case may be at the time of deciding a complaint or appeal for the reasons stated in that section, to recommend for disciplinary action to be taken against the CPIO/SPIO as the case may be, under the relevant service rules. Power to recommend disciplinary action is a power the exercise of which may impose penal consequences……
Para 22: thus the principles of natural justice have to be read into the provisions of section 20(2)………
Para 31 : ……..we are unable to sustain the order passed by the sic dated 26/2/08 and the judgment of the high court under appeal. Both the judgments are set aside and the appeal is allowed. We further direct that the disciplinary action, if any, initiated by the department against the appellant shall be withdrawn forthwith.
13 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9052 OF 2012 (Arising out of SLP (C) No.20217 of 2011)
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13 Dec, 2012 Bihar Public Service Commission Appellant Vs Saiyed Hussain Abbas Rizwi and Anr Respondents

The applicant filed an application before the BPSC under RTI act, 2005 on 16/12/08 seeking information relating to providing the names and addresses of the subject experts present in the interview board, names and addresses of the candidates who appeared, the interview statement with certified photocopies of the marks of all the candidates, signed statement of average marks allotted to candidates and certified copy of the merit list.
The application remained pending for a considerable time with the commission leading to filing of an appeal before the sic. The sic directed the PIO that the information sought be made available to the applicant. Information which could be supplied was given to the applicant by the BPSC and the sic informed of the same who closed the proceedings. Aggrieved by the action of the sic the applicant challenged the same by filing a writ before the high court of Patna.
Decision of the high court:
The learned judge of that court dismissed the writ petition considering provision of section 8(1)(j) of the RTI act, 2005.
Feeling aggrieved the applicant challenged the judgment of the learned single judge before the division bench of that court by filing LPA no 102 of 2010. The division bench took the view that the provisions of section 8(1)(j) were not attracted in the facts of the case. The court in its order dated 20/1/11 accepted the appeal, set aside the order of the learned single judge and directed the BPSC to provide names of the members of the interview board. The BPSC has challenged the legality and correctness of the said judgment by way of SLP.
Decision of the Supreme Court in brief:
Para 30 : ………the disclosure of names and addresses of the members of the interview board would ex facie endanger their lives or physical safety. The possibility of a failed candidate attempting to take revenge from such persons cannot be ruled out. On the one hand it is likely to expose the members of the interview board to harm and on the other such disclosure would service no fruitful much less any public purpose. Furthermore the view of the high court in the judgement under appeal that element of bias can be traced and would be crystallized only if the names and addresses of the examiners /interviewers are furnished is without any substance…………….marks are required to be disclosed but disclosure of individual names would hardly hold relevancy either to the concept of transparency or for proper exercise of the right to information within the limitation of the act.
For the reasons aforesaid we accept the present appeal, set aside the judgement of the high court and hold that the commission (BPSC) is not bound to disclose the information asked for by the applicant under query 1 of the application.
14 Civil appeal No 27734 of 2012
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03 Oct, 2012 Girish Ramchandra Deshpande Vs Central Information Commission and Ors

The petitioner requested for information relating to the third respondent’s personal matters pertaining to his service career and also details of his assets and liabilities, movable and immovable properties etc which was denied by the CIC. He submitted an application containing 15 queries to the regional provident fund commissioner which were rejected mainly under section 8(1)(j) of RTI act.
Aggrieved by the said order the petitioner approached the CIC. The CIC ordered to disclose only the posting details/posting orders. Remaining queries were rejected under 8(1)(j) of RTI act.
Writ petition before the high court :
The petitioner’s writ petition which came up for hearing before a learned single judge was dismissed. The matter was taken up by way of lpa before the division bench and the same was also dismissed. Against the said order this SLP had been filed.
Developments before the Supreme Court :
The question that came up for consideration is whether the information sought for qualifies to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of section 8(1) of the RTI act. The apex court stated as follows:-
“we are in agreement with the CIC and the courts below that the details called for by the petitioner ie copies of all memos issued to the third respondent, show cause notices and orders of censure/punishment etc are qualified to be personal information as defined in clause (j) of section 8(1) of the RTI act. The performance of an employee/officer in an organisation is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression “personal information” the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On the other hand, disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual. Of course in a given case if the CPIO or SPIO or the appellate authority is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, appropriate orders could be passed but the petitioner claim those details as a matter of right.”

Comments : a very important judgment defining the most frequently used clause relating to personal information i.e. 8(1)(j).
15 CIVIL WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 210 of 2012
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13 Sep, 2012 Namit Sharma Vs Union of India

The petitioner has approached the supreme court of India under article 32 of the constitution stating that though the RTI act,2005 is an important tool in the hands of any citizen to keep checks and balances on the working of the public servants, yet the criterion for appointment of the persons who are to adjudicate the disputes under this act are too vague, general, ulta vires the constitution and contrary to the established principles of law laid down by a plethora of judgements of the supreme court of India. It is the stand of the petitioner that the persons who are appointed to discharge judicial or quasi judicial functions or powers under the RTI act, 2005 ought to have a judicial approach, experience, knowledge and expertise. ……………….complete lack of judicial expertise in the commission may render the decision making process impracticable, inflexible and in given cases contrary to law.
Decision of the Supreme Court:
The order of the Hon’ble supreme court records elaborate discussions and reasons. The court passed the following order and directions:
The writ petition partly allowed.
The provisions of section 12(5) and 15(5) of the act of 2005 are held to be constitutionally valid, but with the rider that, to give it a meaningful and purposive interpretation, it is necessary for the court to read into these provisions some aspects without which these provisions are bound to offend the doctrine of equality. Thus we hold and declare that that the expression ‘knowledge and experience’ appearing in these provisions would mean and include a basic degree in the respective field and the experience gained thereafter.
There is an absolute necessity to reword or amend the provisions of sections 12(5), 12(6) and 15(5).
Central Govt to frame rules to make working of the information commissions effective and in consonance with the basic rule of law.
Commission is a judicial tribunal performing functions of judicial as well as quasi judicial nature and having the trappings of a court.
First appellate authority preferably should be possessing degree in law/adequate knowledge and experience in the field of law.
The information commissions shall work in benches of two members each, one being a judicial member while the other an expert member.
Appointment of the information commissioners should be made in consultation with the chief justice of India/chief justice of the state.
Appointment of information commissioners should be made from amongst the persons empanelled by the DoPT in the case of centre/concerned ministry in the case of a state.
Panel should be placed before a high powered committee for final recommendation to the president.
Selection process to commence three months in advance prior to occurrence of vacancy.
This judgement shall have effect only prospectively.
Orders of the commission are subject to judicial review before the high court and then before the Supreme Court. Information commission is bound by the law of precedence i.e. judgements of the high court and the supreme court of India.
The rule of precedence is equally applicable to intra appeals or references in the hierarchy of the commission.
Total Case uploaded: 22