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RTI >> Judgments >> Supreme Court >> Exemption >> Personal Information
High Courts(Personal Information)/ CIC(Personal Information)
1 13 Nov, 2019 Central Public Information Officer, supreme court of India vs. Subhash Chandra Agrawal

Brief facts of the judgment
This case concerns the balance which is required between two important fundamental rights i.e. right to information and right to privacy. Often these two rights are seen as conflicting, however, we need to reiterate that both rights are two faces of the same coin. There is no requirement to see the two facets of the right in a manner to further the conflict, what is herein required is to provide balancing formula which can be easily made applicable to individual cases. Moreover, due to the fact of infancy in privacy jurisprudence has also contributed to the meticulous task we are burdened herein.

Decision of Supreme Court
Coming to the aspect of transparency, judicial independence and the RTI Act, we need to note that there needs to be a balance between the three equally important concepts. The whole bulwark of preserving our Constitution, is trusted upon judiciary, when other branches have not been able to do so. As a shield, the judicial independence is the basis with which judiciary has maintained its trust reposed by the citizens. In light of the same, the judiciary needs to be protected from attempts to breach its independence. Such interference requires calibration of 28 appropriate amount of transparency in consonance with judicial independence.

It must be kept in the mind that the transparency cannot be allowed to run to its absolute, considering the fact that efficiency is equally important principle to be taken into fold. We may note that right to information should not be allowed to be used as a tool of surveillance to scuttle effective functioning of judiciary. While applying the second step the concerned authority needs to balance these considerations as well.

In line with the aforesaid discussion, we need to note that following non-exhaustive considerations needs to be considered while assessing the ‘public interest’ under Section 8 of the RTI Act
a. Nature and content of the information
b. Consequences of non-disclosure; dangers and benefits to public
c. Type of confidential obligation.
d. Beliefs of the confidant; reasonable suspicion
e. Party to whom information is disclosed.
f. Manner in which information acquired
g. Public and private interests
h. Freedom of expression and proportionality.

Having ascertained the test which is required to be applied while considering the exemption under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, I may note that there is no requirement to elaborate on the factual nuances of the cases presented before us. Accordingly, I concur with the conclusions reached by the majority.
2 31 Aug, 2017 Canara Bank vs CS Shyam and anr

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.

RTI application sought the copies of all note sheets and correspondence pages of file relating to one person.The CPIO denied the information on the ground that the information sought attracts Clause 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, The learned Single Judge of the Delhi HC while observing that except in cases involving overriding public interest, the ACR record of an officer cannot be disclosed to any person other than the officer himself/herself, remanded the matter to the CIC for considering the issue whether, in the larger public interest, the information sought by the appellant could be disclosed. It was observed that if the CIC comes to a conclusion that larger public interest justifies the disclosure of the information sought by the appellant, the CIC would follow the procedure prescribed under Section 11 of Act.
Supreme Court found no reason to interfere with the impugned judgment passed by the Division Bench whereby the order passed by the learned Single Judge was affirmed.

The matter of 'personal information' has been dealt by the Hon'ble Court in paras 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 & 22 of the judgement.

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.
4 03 Oct, 2012 Girish Ramchandra Deshpande Vs Central Information Commission and Ors

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.”
5 02 Sep, 2011 The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India Appellant Vs Shaunak H Satya and Ors

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India Appellant Vs Shaunak H Satya and Ors
The RTI application sought information about educational qualification of examiners, procedure of evaluation in the Chartered Accountants’ final examination conducted by ICAI etc. The appellant contended that the information sought - that is, instructions and model answers, if any, issued to the examiners and moderators by ICAI cannot be disclosed as they are exempted from disclosure under clauses (d) and (e) of sub-section (1) of Section 8 of RTI Act. Supreme Court ruled ICAI to disclose to the first respondent, the standard criteria, if any, relating to moderation, employed by it, for the purpose of making revisions.

The matter of "personal information" has been dealt by the Hon'ble Court in paras 19 & 24 of the Judgement
Total Case uploaded: 5