3 Apr 07:10 2009
Re: Compilation on "DECISIONS OF CIC ON SECTION 8(1)(j)"
Neeraj Kumar <neeraj.com@...>
2009-04-03 05:10:52 GMT
2009-04-03 05:10:52 GMT
Dear Mr. Krishnamoorthi, you have done such a wonderful job. regards, Neeraj Kumar On Thu, Apr 2, 2009 at 9:17 PM, T N Krishnamoorthi <tnkeealhw@...>wrote: > DECISIONS OF CIC ON SECTION 8(1)(j) > > Though the RTI Act enables every Citizen to obtain the information from the > Public Authority, some information's were restricted under Section 8(1) of > the RTI Act. Among the exemption from the disclosure of the information > under Sec 8(1), there are ten sub sections vide (a) to (j). As there is no > specific guidelines/clarifications regarding the above sections are > available except the circulars issued from time to time, the only available > alternate source to seek for guidance is the Decisions of Central > Information Commission (CIC). This compilation was made by summing up the > Decisions of CIC on the various issues of Section 8(1)(j) for enhancing the > knowledge on RTI to both Information seeker as well as Information provider. > > Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI act is re produced below: > > " information which relates to personal information 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 Central > Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the > appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public > interest justifies the disclosure of such information" > > The issues covered in the Section 8(1)(j) are "personal information", "no > relationship to any public activity or interest", "unwarranted invasion of > the privacy" and "larger public interest". > > List 1 - " Personal Information" :- > > The following decisions were issued by the CIC which will further brief the > provisions of section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act in general and the issue of " > Personal Information" in particular . The gists of such decisions were > compiled as List 1: > > 1.1 ACR to retired employee: > > The PIO has amongst the various RTI applications of the appellant (retired > employee ) refused to give him copies of his ACR. The Commission directs the > PIO to give copies of all his ACRs to the appellant. [Decision No. CIC > /WB/A/2008/00172/SG/2409 Appeal No. CIC/WB/A/2008/00172/SG] > > 1.2 Annual confidential report:- > > In regard to the annual confidential report of any officer, it is our view > that what is contained therein is undoubtedly `personal information' about > that employee. The ACRs are protected from disclosure because arguably such > disclosure seriously harm interpersonal relationship in a given > organization. [CIC/AT/A/2006/00069-13 July,2006] > > 1.3 Employees' personal information > > .....The information which the appellant has solicited in respect of a > third party, is clearly of a very personal nature. There is no reason why > any person should get information about a Government employee in respect of > the family members listed on the CGHS Card, the name of the Dispensary, > whether that employee is married, the name of his wife, the date of his > informing the public authority about his marriage, the names of his nominees > for the GPF and CGEIS and other documents, the dates on which the forms have > been filled, and whether any disciplinary action is pending against him. > Apart from being personal information, disclosure of such information serves > no public purpose. It is quite possible that disclosure of such information > may lead to unwarranted harassment and intimidation of the employee by other > parties. The Commission has to exercise utmost caution in authorizing > disclosure of personal information of employees of public authorities. > Except when dictated by overwhelming public purpose, such information is > better left undisclosed under the provision of exemption Section 8(1)(j) of > the Act. [CIC/AT/A/2006/00311-3.11.2006] > > 1.4 Leave records without names > > ..... personal information, unconnected with the government affairs of an > official, i.e., information relating to personal affairs of officials, need > not be disclosed. However, information, which are purely official could be > disclosed to the appellant. Therefore, the CPIO will furnish only the number > of officials who had been granted leave with out names etc; > ......information sought (Pendency left out against the receipt, while > proceeding on leave) being general in nature, need not be > furnished;regarding other issues , be given without names; > [174/ICPB/2006-4.12.2006] > > 1.5 LTC claim details:- > > The details about the amounts claimed as LTC, the block years for which the > claim was made, number of persons for whom claim made, dates of filing the > claim and disbursal, advance taken and adjustment if any, and the sanction > for using the LTC should be disclosed to the appellant. However, other > personal details such as the names of the family members, their age, etc. > which are personal in nature should be barred from disclosure > [CIC/AT/A/2006/00317-10.10.2006] > > 1.6 Personal information:- > > In this particular case, the AA and the CPIO have not analyzed the nuances > of disclosure of the information as requested by the appellant principally > because they had concluded that such information need not be disclosed under > Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. What they ought to be examining is whether > disclosure of this information, if authorized, will jeopardize the > functioning of the public authority in a manner that would attract > provisions of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. > > The Commission, therefore, while holding that the matter in this > RTI-application cannot be said to be `personal', that would attract the > exemption under Section 8(1)(j), is not inclined to authorize disclosure > straight away, before other aspects of such disclosure are fully examined > (i.e. under sub-sections of Section 8(1)). > > The matter is, therefore, remitted back to the AA, with a direction that he > shall examine whether, given the nature of the disclosure sought, it would > attract any of the sub-sections of the Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, other > than Section 8(1)(j). The AA should also examine whether Section 10(1) > (severability provision) can be invoked to disclose that part of the > information which may not come within the bar of any of the exemption > sub-sections of the RTI Act. [F.No.CIC/AT/A/2007/01105 Dated, the 21st > January, 2008.] > > 1.7 Personal Information-defining:- > > ....We have no clear definition of what is meant by "invasion of privacy" > within the RTI Act. We have no equivalent of UK's Data Protection Act, 1998, > Sec 2 of which, titled Sensitive Personal Data, reads as follows: > In this Act "sensitive personal data" means personal data consisting of > information as to: > a) The racial or ethnic origin of the data subject > b) His political opinions > c) His religious beliefs or other beliefs of a similar nature > d) Whether he is a member of a Trade Union > e) His physical or mental health or condition > f) His sexual life > g) The commission or alleged commission by him of any offence > h) Any proceedings for any offence committed or alleged to have been > committed by him, the disposal of such proceedings or the sentence of any > court in such proceedings. > > .......On the other hand, the US Restatement of the Law, Second, Torts, § > 652 define the Intrusion to Privacy in the following manner: > "One, who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the > solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is > subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the > intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person". [Appeal > No.CIC/WB/A/2007/01460 dated 27.11.2007] > > 1.8 Roster/vacancy position of employees > > Information related to the Roster/vacancy position of employees,which are > neither confidential nor personal information. [196/IC(A)/2006-23 Aug,2006.] > > 1.9 Tour Travel Expense:- > > The information sought is required by the appellant to defend his case > properly. The information sought by the appellant relate to the tour > programme and travel expenses of a public servant, which cannot be treated > as personal information.[Appeal No. 07/IC(A)/CIC/2006 Dated, the 6th March, > 2006] > > List 2 - "No relationship to any public activity or interest":- > > The gist of decisions issued by the CIC which will deals with the > provisions of section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act and the issue of "No relationship > to any public activity or interest" were compiled as List 2: > > 2.1 I.T. Returns > > Income Tax Returns filed by an assessee are confidential information which > include details of commercial activities and that it relates to third > person. These are submitted in fiduciary capacities. There is no public > action involved in the matter. Disclosure is exempted under s.8(1)(j). > [22/IC(A)/2006 - 30 March.] > > 2.2 Leave records > > It was purely a personal matter with no public interest involved. Hence, > the information need not be disclosed. However, if the Appellant could prove > to the satisfaction of the Commission that public interest was involved in > the matter, then the Commission could re-examine the matter. > [CIC/OK/A/2006/00189-3 November, 2006] > > 2.3 Misuse of RTI Act :- > > The Commission is in possession of letters which the appellant, Mr. Kishur > J. Aggarwal, Editor-in-Chief of a number of Daily Papers / Magazines has > written to almost all the PSUs for eliciting their support for promotion of > his business interests. His Company, named as NUURRIE Media Ltd. has > launched thirty nine (39) websites covering the activities of all sections > of the society. He has been asking for the favour of carrying out > advertisements in his magazines / websites. Clearly, his modus operandi is > to use RTI for influencing PSUs for promotion of his business, rather than > serving the social interests such as ensuring transparency and efficiency in > functioning of PSUs. This is indeed a blatant misuse of RTI Act which ought > to be discouraged. As an enlightened citizen, every information seeker > should resort to RTI Act responsibly, as most people are doing and reaping > the benefits of this powerful Act. [Appeal No. 24/IC(A)/2006 F.No. > 11/78/2006/CIC > Dated, the 10th April, 2006 ] > > 2.4 PAN Number:- > > ....... PAN is a statuary number, which functions as a unique > identification for each tax payers. Making PAN public can result in misuse > of this information by other persons to quote wrong PAN while entering into > financial transactions and also could compromise the privacy of the personal > financial transactions linked with PAN. This also holds true for TAN. > Information relating to PAN and TAN, including the dated of issue of these > numbers, are composite and confidential in nature under Section 138 of > Income Tax Act. The appellant has not made a case of bonafide public > interest for disclosure of PAN/TAN Numbers of 26 companies on grounds of > submissions of their application for above purposes or filing of tax returns > [Appeal 05/IC(A)/CIC/2006 Dated, the 3rd March, 2006] > > List 3 -"unwarranted invasion of the privacy":- > > The gist of decisions issued by the CIC which will covers the provisions of > section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act as well as the issue of "unwarranted invasion of > the privacy" were compiled as List 3: > > 3.1 Bio-Data : - > > when a candidate submits his application for appointment to a post under a > P.A., the same becomes a public document and he cannot object to the > disclosure on the ground of invasion of privacy and directed the PIO to > provide copies of the bio-data. [ ICPB/A-9/CIC/2006-3 April,2006.] > > 3.2 Customer details:- > > The complainant asked for certain information relating to a customer of the > respondent. The information sought was denied u/s 8(1)(j) of the Act, after > obtaining concurrence of the third party u/s 11 of the Act. > > .....The respondent is expected to maintain confidentiality of the details > of information of its customers. There is no public interest in disclosure > of such information. The CPIO has therefore correctly denied u/s 8(1)(j) of > the Act, the disclosure of information relating to its customers. [Decision > No.815/IC(A)/2007 F. No.CIC/PB/C/2007/00041 Dated, the 8th June, 2007] > > 3.3 Medical Report:- > > As far as medical reports are concerned, they are purely personal to the > individuals and furnishing of the copies of medical reports would amount to > invasion of privacy of the individuals and need not be furnished. However > PIO will disclose to the requester the information whether all the four > candidates had been declared medically fit or not .[ ICPB/A-9/CIC/2006-3 > April,2006.] > > List 4 - "larger public interest":- > > The decisions issued by the CIC which broadly deals with the issue of > "larger public interest" under the section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act were compiled > as List 4: > > 4.1 Educational Records:- > > ......One CPIO refused to provide copies of educational records submitted > by the employee, whose details have been solicited. Thereafter the appeal > was considered unnecessary on the background that the appellant could not > explain as to how he is affected in the matter or what was the public > interest in disclosure of personal and official details of the respondent's > employee. [Decision No.3807/IC(A)/2009 F. No.CIC/MA/A/2009/000135 Dated, the > 26th March, 2009] > > 4.2 File Noting:- > > .....the plea taken by respondents is that the disclosure does not justify > "larger public interest". However, respondents have been unable to cite the > clause u/s 8 (1) (j) in which the larger public interest has been cited as a > permissible ground for refusing information, whereas in most sub sections of > 8 (1) which allows exemption from disclosure of information, public interest > is repeatedly cited as a reason for disclosing information otherwise > considered exempt except in the case of information falling u/s 8 (1) sub > section (j), but even in that case only if it has "no relationship" to any > public interest, which in this case is nobody's argument..... " > > .......Having examined the records and heard the respondents, we find > nothing in pages 3 to 16 of the note-sheet of File No. 7/6/2002-EIII to be > exempt from disclosure under any of the provisions of the sec. 8(1). > .....The noting is in fact, record of a very public activity of direct > concern to public interest. [Adjunct to Appeal No.CIC/WB/A/2007/01015 dated > 20.10.2007; Decision on 26.3.2009] > > List 5 - General:- > > The decisions issued by the CIC in which combinations of various issues of > section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act were dealt by the commission were compiled as > List 5: > > 5.1 Annual property returns > > The information in the annual property returns is retained by the public > authority in sealed covers / or in some other mode under proper "secrecy" > classification and used only when the public servant, whose return it may > be, faces a charge or an enquiry. It is not held as a public information, > but rather a safety valve a deterrent to public servants that investments > or transactions etc. in properties should not be done without the knowledge > of the public authority. While there may be an arguable case for disclosing > all such information furnished to the various Public Authorities by the > public servants, till such time the nature of this information remains a > confidential entrustment by the public servant to the Public Authority, it > shall be covered by section 8 (1) (j) and cannot be routinely disclosed. It > will also attract the exemption under Section 8 (1) (e) and in certain cases > the provisions of Section 11 (1), being an information entrusted to the > public authority by a third person, i.e. the public servant filing property > return. On the whole, property returns of public servants, which are > required to be compulsorily filed by a set date annually by all public > servants with their respective public authorities, being an information to > be used exceptionally, must be held to serve no general public purpose whose > disclosure the RTI Act must compel. [CIC/AT/A/2006/00134-10 July, 2006.] > > 5.2 Bank Loan details:- > > The appellant has sought the details of loans already sanctioned and > disbursed to a particular Company. He has however not indicated the bonafied > public interest in seeking > the information. The appellant authority of the Bank has contended that the > details of properties and securities submitted by the borrowers are in the > nature of commercial confidence, the disclosure of which is exempted under > Section 8(d) of the RTI Act. Also, the information sought relate to > collateral and securities taken by the concerned Company and its directors, > which are personal information. This has no relationship with any public > activity or interest. Disclosure of such information would cause unwarranted > invasion of privacy of individual / third party, as per Section 8(1) (j). > [Appeal No. 19/IC(A)/2006 > F.No. CIC/MA/A/2006/00057 Dated, the 29th March, 2006] > > 5.3 CBI investigation report:- > > ........the appellant has asked for copies of correspondence exchanged > between the respondent and the CBI. He has also asked for a copy of CBI > investigation report, which is about 20 years old, in respect of his father. > The CPIO has replied and refused to furnish the information u/s 8(1)(j) of > the Act. > > .......Since the information asked for relate to an action taken by the > respondent in 1988, i.e. over 20 years old, there is no justification for > invoking section 8(1)(j) of the Act, for denial of information. The CPIO is, > therefore, directed to furnish the information asked for. [Decision > No.3796/IC(A)/2009 F. No.CIC/MA/A/2009/000145 Dated, the 23rd March, 2009] > > 5.4 Commission paid to an LIC agent > > The information sought relate to the commission paid to the appellant > herself, as per her entitlement in accordance with the norms and guidelines > of the LIC. The information about her own entitlements cannot be treated as > confidential. [CIC/MA/A/2006/00505-6.10.2006] > > 5.5 Copy of complaint:- > > The Appellant had requested the for a copy of the complaint made by one JWO > ............ which the welfare section had forwarded to the SSP, Allahabad. > The CPIO, in his reply denied the information on the ground that the > information sought related to the domestic problems of the said JWO and this > was personal information which had no relations with any public activity or > interest and was exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)(j) of the Right > to Information (RTI) Act. > > ..... The Respondent showed us the original complaint filed by the JWO > which had been forwarded by the welfare section to the police. The > Respondent submitted that the disclosure of this complaint to the Appellant > could expose the JWO to further harassment and vengeful action in the hands > of the Appellant and thereby jeopardise the life and security of the said > JWO and his family. We tend to agree with the submissions of the Respondent. > Since this complaint has been forwarded to the local police, the police > should be allowed to continue with the investigation, if any. The complaint > being a purely > personal one and having no relationship to any public activity or interest, > there is no case > for disclosing it to the Appellant. [Appeal No.CIC/WB/A/2008/00485-SM dated > 23.11.2007] > > 5.6 Copy of disciplinary proceedings of others:- > > The appellant, an ex- employee of the bank, sought for copies of various > documents connected with the initiated against him and had also asked for > copies of memos issued/disciplinary proceedings initiated against some other > officials. The CPIO while furnishing copies of all documents connected with > the disciplinary proceedings against the appellant, declined to furnish the > information sought for in respect of other officials applying the provisions > of Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. > > .... in so far as those relating other officials, I am in agreement with > the decision of CPIO/AA that the same is exempt under the provisions of > Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. [Appeal No.550/ICPB/2007 F.No.PBA/07/310 > June 6, 2007] > > 5.7 Document related to investigation:- > > The complainant had asked for certain documents connected with an > investigation relating to fraud and corrupt practices, including sexual > harassment case, in which the complainant was alleged to have been involved. > The information sought was denied u/s 8(1)(j) of the Act. > > .....the denial of documents pertaining to the corrupt practices and > investigations into such matters, as above, are justified u/s 8(1)(j) of the > Act. [Decision No.803/IC(A)/2007 F. No.CIC/PB/C/2007/00007 Dated, the 7th > June, 2007] > > 5.8 Funds in PF accounts:- > > As regards disclosure of information relating to the accumulation of funds > in PF accounts of the identified members, the CPIO has correctly applied > exemption u/s 8(1)(j) of the Act, from disclosure of information. > > 5.9 Information about his own case:- > > The CPIO has indicated in respect of item nos. 1 to 6 he is not in a > position to provide information since the information is of personal nature > and it does not relate to any public activity or interest hence he denied to > provide this information under section 8(1)(j) of the Act. This stand of the > CPIO is totally wrong for the simple reason the Complainant is requesting > information about his own case. Under these circumstances the application of > section 8(1)(j) is not relevant. Section 8(1)(j) can be applied only when > one seeks information of third party. This Commission has given a number of > decisions in this regard including the full Bench decision in Appeal No. > CIC/WB/A/2006/00469 & 00394 in the matter of Mr. R.K. Singh Vs. Lok Sabha > Secretariat. As per section 8(1)(j), there should be an element of invasion > of privacy of individual. Whereas one seeks about information about his own > case, there is no invasion of privacy, hence, section 8(1)(j) cannot be > applied. I, therefore, direct the CPIO to provide information with reference > to paras 1 to 6, if they do not fall under any other exemptions provided > under section 8(1) of the RTI Act. In respect of item no.7, the CPIO has > stated that this information is relating to third party and hence he has not > provided the same. I agree with the stand taken by the CPIO. I also agree > with the CPIO in respect of item no.8. [Appeal No.1457/ICPB/2008 > F.No.PBC/07/396 February 8, 2008] > > 5.10 Loan sanctioned by bank:- > > .......the appellant has sought for information in a tabular form of the > loans sanctioned by him and the AA has applied the provisions of Section > 8(1)(j) and 13(1) of Banking companies Act. In the normal course, the > decision of the AA is fully justified but not in the present case, as the > appellant has sought for details of only the loans sanctioned by him and on > which basis he has been charged in the disciplinary as well as criminal > proceeding. Therefore, the CPIO is bound to furnish the information and > cannot seek exemption either under RTI Act or the Banking companies Act. > > ...... In case the information sought cannot be given in a tabular form, > the same may be furnished in such form as the CPIO finds it convenient. > [Appeals No.376-382/ICPB/2006 F.No.PBA/06/440, 476 to 481 ; March 5, 2007] > > 5.11 Own personal case:- > > The information sought by the appellant has been denied applying the > provisions of Section 8(1)(j) as he has sought information about his own > personal case. > > "Section 8(1)(j) reads - "information which relates to personal information > 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 Central Public Information Officer or the State Public > Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is > satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such > information". > > This Section has to be read as a whole. If done so, it would be apparent > that that "personal information" does not mean information relating to the > information seeker, but about a third party. That is why, in the Section, it > is stated "unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual". If one > were to seek information about himself or his own case, the question of > invasion of privacy of his own self does not arise. If one were to ask > information about a third party and if it were to invade the privacy of the > individual, the information seeker can be denied the information on the > ground that disclosure would invade the privacy of a third party. Therefore, > when a citizen seeks information about his own case and as long as the > information sought is not exempt in terms of other provisions of Section 8 > of RTI Act, this Section cannot be applied to deny the information." Thus > when a citizen seeks information relating to his own affairs, the same > cannot be denied under Section 8(1)(j) of the Act. [Appeal No.374/ICPB/2006 > F.No.PBA/07/17 March 5, 2007] > > 5.12 Pension paid by Post Office:- > > A request was received by the Department of Posts for addresses, amount of > pension paid of postal pensioners from post offices under Gaziabad > H.P.O.,which was rejected. CIC held that the P.I.O. has rightly applied > s.8(1)(j). [ICPB/A-18/CIC/2006- 10 May, 2006.] > > 5.13 Reasons for rejection of requests > > The PIO has to give the reasons for rejection of the request for > information as required under Section 7(8)(i). Merely quoting the bare > clause of the Act does not imply that the reasons have been given. The PIO > should have intimated as to how he had come to the conclusion that rule > 8(1)(j) was applicable in this case . [CIC/OK/C/2006/00010 7 July,2006.] > > 5.14 Terms and conditions of appointment:- > > The appellant had asked for a copy of the terms and conditions of > appointment of Sh. Raha, ex CMD, ONGC. The CPIO refused to furnish the > information u/s 8(1)(j) of the Act, on the ground that the information > sought relates to personal information, disclosure of which has no > relationship with any public activity or interest. > > U/s 4(1)(b)(ii) of the Act, public authorities are required to disclose > "the powers and duties of its officers and employees". And, u/s 4(1)(b)(x) > "the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, > including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations" should > also be put in public domain. Accordingly, there is no reason as to why the > terms and conditions of appointment of officers, which incorporate duties > and responsibilities as well as the compensation, including other service > benefits, as asked for by the appellant, should not be disclosed. In view of > this, the orders passed by the appellate authority is untenable. [Decision > No.600/IC(A)/2007 F. No.CIC/MA/A/2007/00048 Dated, the 19th March, 2007] > > 5.15 Traveling expenses : > > The traveling expenses were charged to the public account,disclosure if the > information can not be denied on the ground of `personal information','not a > public activity' and `no public interest' etc.Travel had been performed as a > part and in discharge of official duties and the records related the same > are public records and therefore,a citizen has the right to seek disclosure > of the same. > [63/ICPB/2006- 4 August,2006] > 5.16 Work allocation:- > > .......The Appellant had requested the CPIO for information regarding the > work allocated to one labourer. The CPIO replied and denied the information > under Section 8(1)(j) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. > > ....We carefully considered the contents of his appeal and we also heard > the submissions of the Respondent. We do not at all agree with the decision > of the CPIO and the first Appellate Authority that the information sought is > exempt from disclosure under any of the provisions of the Right to > Information (RTI) Act. In fact, section 4 of the Right to Information (RTI) > Act mandates every Public Authority to publish, on its own, details of the > work assigned to the employees of that Authority. We, therefore, direct the > CPIO to provide the information. [Appeal No.CIC/WB/A/2008/01005-SM dated > 11.03.2008] > > The readers are advised to go through the full text of the decisions which > are available in the web site of Central Information Commission ( > www.gov.in) before use. > > Compiled on Public Interest by: > > Er T N Krishnamoorthi > Deputy Chief Engineer, > Andaman Harbour Works > Little Andaman > A & N Islands. > Mob : 09434289673. > > > -- __________________________ RTI HELPLINE 0 9718 100 180 ---------------------------------------------- Don't give up your fight Neeraj Kumar Right to Information Campaign D - 59, 3rd Floor, Pandav Nagar, Delhi - 110 092 Tel. 011 - 2248 5139 ----------------------------------------------- ****** LEGAL DISCLAIMER ****** This E-Mail may contain some information related to Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. If you have received this e-mail in error and are not the intended recipient/s, you may use this information and for any other clarification feel free to contact. 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