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RTI >> Judgments >> CIC >> Exemption >> Miscellaneous (Exemption)
Supreme Court(Miscellaneous (Exemption))/ High Courts(Miscellaneous (Exemption))
1 24 Mar, 2021 Manisha Singh vs. CPIO, Central Vigilance Commission,

Information Sought
The Appellant filed RTI application dated 25.03.2019 seeking information on four points regarding her complaints dated 26.10.2018, 14.01.2019 and 18.02.2019 filed under Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Informer (PIDPI) Resolution. In this regard, she sought for the following information;
1. “Provide the certified copy of ‘investigation report’ if any.
2. Provide the certified copy of complete note-sheet along with all correspondence part of CVC’s file/s on which the action, if any taken has been/is being taken by CVC on above mentioned complaints.
3. Intimate the procedure and time limit prescribed by CVC for finally disposing off the complaints filed under PIDPI Resolution.
4. Intimate the estimated time limit, within which, action on above mentioned complaints would be taken, if not already taken, by CVC.”

“In the facts of the instant case, the Commission observes that the then CPIO & the present CPIO have mindlessly relied on the provisions of PIDPI Resolution to deny the information sought for in the RTI Application and have further invoked Section 8(1)(g) and (e) of the RTI Act. The reasoning accorded for invoking the said exemption clauses is also completely misplaced as the question of revealing the identity of the Complainant does not arise as the Appellant is herself the Complainant, similarly, mere absence of larger public interest does not validate the applicability of Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act. It was incumbent upon the CPIO to have justified the existence of a fiduciary relationship in the matter vis-à-vis the records sought for by the Appellant. It is furthermore irksome to note that the FAA has also reiterated the CPIO’s reply in a cyclostyled manner without even ascertaining the merits of the said reply. Moreover, attention of the CPIO & the FAA is drawn towards Section 22 of the RTI Act which provides for as under:

‘22. Act to have overriding effect.—The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act.’

2 02 Jan, 2020 Musabbar Vs. CPIO, Remount Training School Depot, Uttarakhand - 244716

Information Sought
The Appellant requested to provide duplicate service book in the form of a certified copy in consonance with Rule 257(2)(3) and (4) of GFR, 2005 etc.

Commission observes from the perusal of facts on record that the CPIO has erred in denying the information sought in para 2 of the RTI Application citing the matter as sub-judice. It may be noted that there is no provision in RTI Act which allows denial of information on the grounds of sub-judice. In this regard, Commission relies on an order of the Hon’ble Delhi.

High Court in the matter of MCD vs. R.K. Jain, (WP(C) No. 14120/2009). The relevant extract of the order is reproduced hereunder:

“the matter being sub judice before a court is not one of the categories of information which is exempt from disclosure under any of the clauses of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act.” Hence, merely stating that a matter is sub-judice would not be a sufficient ground for withholding information under the RTI Act”

In view of the above, Commission expresses displeasure over the conduct of CPIO in citing Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act for denying information sought in para 2 of the RTI Application. He is warned to be careful in future.

CPIO is directed to provide copy of Charge Memo and other documents connected with the relevant departmental proceedings sought at para 2 of the RTI Application to the Appellant free of cost within 15 days of receipt of this order and send a compliance report of the same to the Commission.

3 28 Nov, 2019 Mr. Gaurishankar R Rawat Vs. CPIO, Addl. Commissioner of Income Tax, Gultekadi, Pune

Information Sought
The Appellant vide his RTI application sought information on 02 points regarding a newspaper report published in the newspaper ‘Lokmat’ on 21.05.2016 on the subject ‘Rs. 21,000/- Crore worth of Undisclosed Income seized’ regarding the details of recovery made and issue related thereto.

The Commission also took note of the proviso to Section 8 of the RTI Act, 2005 wherein it has been stated that “..the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State legislature shall not be denied to any person…” In this context, the Commission drew reference to The Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court decision in Civil Writ Petition No.1338 of 2011 ( M/s Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. V. The Central Information Commission and others) (Date of Decision: 24.01.2011) wherein it was held as under:

18. “In the same sequence, proviso to Section 8 of the Act envisaged that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or the State Legislature, shall not be denied to any person.

19. A co-joint reading of the aforesaid provisions will leave no manner of doubt that every information is not exempted. Only those informations, pertaining to commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, the 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 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 authorities are satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, are exempted and not otherwise.

20…. Moreover, the CIC was satisfied that larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information. Since the information sought cannot be denied to the Parliament or the State Legislature, so, the same cannot also be denied to respondent No.2, as contemplated in the proviso to section 8 of the Act.”

A reference can also be made to the decision of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the matter of Kamal Bhasin v. Radha Krishna Mathur and Ors., W.P.(C) 7218/2016 dated 01.11.2017 wherein it was held as under:

9. The proviso of Section 8 (1) of the Act is also important and reads as under: "Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person."

10. By virtue of the aforesaid proviso to Section 8(1) of the Act, it is enacted that information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. In the present case, it was doubtful whether information as to the fate of the complaints can be considered as personal information that has no relationship with public interest or public activity. The activity of the Central Vigilance Department includes investigation and taking action in cases of corruption. Secondly, the complaint related to the allegations of misconduct and how these complaints were treated were clearly matter of public interest.

4 30 Sep, 2019 Umesh Kumar Singhal Vs. Dy. GM (CFA-I) & CPIO, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, O/o GMTD, Meerut Cantt

Information Sought
The appellant has sought the following information regarding Mr. Kiranpal Singh S/o Rewati Sharan & Mr. Pramod Kumar Gupta S/o Mahendra Kumar, who were appointed as SDE, GMTD- BSNL office Meerut in April 2016:

1. If both of them (Mr. Kiranpal Singh & Mr. Pramod Kumar Gupta) were present in their office from 25th April 2016 to 28th April 2016, then provide the attested copies of attendance register showing their presence.
2. Or if, both SDEs had gone out of GMTD office for any other official task, then provide information showing where were they & by whose permission they had gone out of GMTD office, Meerut. Provide the attested copies of the information.

The two queries raised were examined and found to be such for which the respondent could have given the information. By responding to the queries, no such confidential information would be disclosed. The presence in the office of these officials on particular dates and their being out on official work can certainly be provided. Other details of where they went for a meeting or the purpose of their visit outside the office need not be given and the reply be given accordingly.

In view of the above observations, the respondent is directed to provide the information on both the points within 10 days of the receipt of this order, in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act.

5 03 Jul, 2019 Ranjana Devi Vs. CPIO, Kendriya Vidhyalaya Sangathan, 18, Institutional Area, New Delhi – 110 016

Information Sought
Number of KVS employees who have booked hotels through online portals for official tours during 2015-16, 2016-17 & 2017-18. Provide details as per the following information:
i. Name and Designation of the employee
ii. Name of Scholl and Section
iii. Online portal through which hotel was Booked (MMT, IRCTC, Trivago, etc.)
iv. Place of Staying and duration
v. Amount paid
vi. Whether bill was passed, if not passed, provide reasons

Based on a perusal of the reply dated 10.01.2018 it was noted that an appropriate reply was provided. The information sought by the appellant is not covered u/s 2(f) of the RTI Act. Hence no relief can be granted.

In view of the submissions of the CPIO, the Commission finds no scope for any intervention in the matter. The Commission accordingly upholds the submissions of the CPIO. No further action lies.

6 27 Mar, 2017 Kailash Chandra Panda Vs. Central Public Information Officer Dy. GM, BSNL, Koraput, Odisha

The complainant filed RTI application seeking information regarding prepaid mobile data entry payment particulars of Koraput Telecom District for the month of 02/2012 to 10/2012 etc. The respondent stated that the complainant is seeking voluminous information in the format designed by him. The respondent stated that the collation and collection of the voluminous information and arranging it in the given format would divert substantial resources of the organization to this work. Hence, they have denied the information. CIC upheld the decision.
7 14 Feb, 2017 Mr. Radha Raman Tripathy, Jharkhand Vs. CPIO / JCIT Range 3, Department of Income Tax, Jharkhand.

Information sought (3 nos.) by the Applicant:
1. Number of assesses who declared their income from interest on bank deposits pertaining
to Range-3 of Bokaro during the period from 01/04/2006 to 31/03/2015.
2. Out of Sl. 1 above, number of assesses/persons who were the second account holder of
bank accounts/FDR deposits.
3. Number of cases re-opened on the ground of having joint account as second account
holder out of Sl. 2 above for the period as at Sl. No 1 above.
The CPIO has submitted that the information is not maintained and if directed to compile the same from the various files would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority. Further, a direction to compile the information in the form sought by the applicant can be issued only if occasioned by considerations of public interest. CIC dismissed the appeal.
8 18 Jan, 2017 Ashok Khemka vs Department of Personnel and Training

Section 8(1)(i) — Cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers. The Commission held that the appellant is not seeking information regarding the ACC note and that he had only sought information regarding an agenda item which was placed before the CSB.

The Commission further observed that the CSB, which is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and consists of Secretaries to the Government of India, is distinct from the ACC. Exemption under section 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act does not apply to the present case. The Commission, therefore, directed the respondent to provide a copy of the agenda item, pertaining to the appellant, along with the minutes of the meeting of the CSB, after severing personal information relating to third party(ies).
9 11 Jan, 2017 Commodore Lokesh K. Batra vs CPIO, P.M. Office, New Delhi & Ann

Section 8(1)(a) Information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India. The appellant filed RTI application seeking information on 4 points viz (a) laid down instructions, process/procedure/ steps involved in Chartering Flights for PM's foreign visits and later filing 'Flight Returns' and raising bills/invoices and clearing bills on completion of the visit; (b) list of file(s)/records with reference number(s) on which bills for the charted Flights for the Hon'ble Prime Ministers are processed since 01.092013; (c) certified copies of 'Flight Return', Air Travel Bill(s) and Receipt(s) of an Amount of Rs. 2,45,27,465/- paid/cleared in respect of the Hon'ble PM's visit to Bhutan; and (d) to inspect all the file/files/records in respect of his above RTI queries — the Commission held that the sought for information are of a nature which is exempted under section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act.
10 03 Jan, 2017 Dr Mundiyara vs Directorate of Personal Services, New Delhi

Section 8(1)(a) — Information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India —Section 8(1)(j) — Personal Information.

The Commission held that the CPIO has denied information on point Nos. 1 to 5 of the RTI application under sections 8(1)(a) and (j) of the RTI Act without any substantial reasoning and the same is also untenable. The Appellant has sought list of names of promotions and b"' no stretch of imagination will the disclosure of such information will have a bearing on the security or strategy of the state or invade the privacy of any third party.
11 26 Dec, 2016 Buddhi Ram Sahani vs Northern Railway, New Delhi

Section 8(1)(a) Information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India. Section 8(1)(j) Personal Information. The Commission observed that providing answer key related to any examination is not covered u/s 8(1) (a) to 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act. Answer key of a public examination is eminently disclosable under the provisions of the RTI Act to ensure more transparency and to inspire more faith of common public in the process adopted by public authorities while recruiting candidates for jobs in the government & semi government organisations. The CPIO is directed to provide the requisite information complete in all respects to the appellant free of charge u/ s 7 (6) of the RTI Act.
12 21 Dec, 2016 Nalin Tayal vs State Bank of India, Chandigarh

Section 8(1)(e) Fiduciary Relationship. Section 8(1)(g). Information the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person.

The Commission held that that copies of file notings pertaining to de-panelment of M/S. GATS Financial Reconstructors Ltd. cannot be provided under the provisions of sections 8(1)(e) and (g) which is held by the respondent authority in its fiduciary relationship and disclosure of which would identify the authorities, who might have opined/made recommendations etc. and would endanger their life and physical safety. Moreover, no larger public interest warrants disclosure of this information to the appellant. The Commission upheld the decision of the FAA.
13 05 Dec, 2016 Rachit Garg vs Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai

Section 8(1)(a) — Information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India — the Commission held that some of the information as sought by the appellant was not maintained by the respondent authority in material form. As regards information i.e. copy of the manual that AFI team of RBI need to follow while doing the AFI of any scheduled banks, which cannot be provided to the appellant under the provisions of sections 8(1)(a) and (d) of the RTI Act, disclosure of which may affect the economic interest of the country. The Commission upheld the decision of the respondent authority.
14 01 Dec, 2016 Matior Rahman vs O/o Commanding Officer, 21 Mtn Signal Regiment

Section 8(1)(a) — Information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India — the Commission held that even if hypothetically Red Horns Public School is not a public authority, the fact remains that the RTI Application was filed with a public authority that is statutorily responsible for furnishing the information if he holds it in his official capacity or can access it. Notwithstanding, the information sought pertains to "Operation Sadhbhavna" of the Indian Army, which is an omnibus project undertaken across sensitive border areas of the country. Disclosure of its details and expenditure in a particular area of operation will have a larger bearing on other areas of its operation, all of which appears to be prejudicial to national interests. The Commission invokes section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act to deny the disclosure of the information sought.
15 24 Nov, 2016 Kush Kalra vs M/o IHQ (Army), New Delhi

Section 8(1)(a) Information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India. The Commission held that it is appropriate to examine the case record on merit & did not want to dismiss it on a mere technicality especially as the issue involved matter of great national importance. However, on close scrutiny of the file, it was found that the CPIO was factually correct as the copy of the RTI application, copy of the first appeal as well the copy of the second appeal were not signed by the appellant. There was no contact number or valid email ID also available in the record. Despite the above fact of technical irregularity, the present CPIO's reply cannot be overlooked. The Commission observed that the CPIO by replying on 22.12.14 had waived his right to reject the RTI application. The FAA had not raised the issue while passing the order.

The Commission is of the view that the present CPIO's plea is genuine but not admissible at this stage. The CPIO had also not explained the applicability of section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act in the case of the instant RTI application, hence, the Commission is constrained to come to the conclusion that the appellant is entitled to receive all information sought for in the said RTI application and as available on record.
Total Case uploaded: 22