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Disclosure of personal information under the RTI

Disclosure of personal information under the RTI Act, 2005 – Information about the complaints made against an officer and action by Government amounting to personal information

No. 11/2/2013-IR (Pt.)
Government of India
Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions
Department of Personnel & Training
North Block, New Delhi,
Dated the 14th August, 2013
OFFICE MEMORANDUM

Subject: Disclosure of personal information under the RTI Act, 2005.

 

The Central Information Commission in one of its decisions (copy enclosed) has held that information about the complaints made against an officer of the  Government and any possible action the authorities might have taken on those complaints, qualifies as personal information within the meaning of provision of  section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act, 2005.
2.  The Central Information Commission while deciding the said case has cited  the decision of Supreme Court of India in the matter of Girish R. Deshpande vs. CIC  and others (SLP (C) no. 27734/2012) in which it was held as under:-

“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 apression ‘persona? information’, the  disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On  the other hand, the disclosure of which could cause unwarranted invasion of the  privacy of that individual.” The Supreme Court further held that such information  could be disclosed only if it would serve a larger public interest.

3.  This may be brought to the notice of all concerned.
End: As above.
sd/-
(Manoj Joshi)
Joint Secretary (AT&A)
Central Information Commission, New Delhi
File No.CIC/SM/A/2013/000058
Right to Information Act-2005-Under Section (19)
Date of hearing : 26/06/2013
Date of decision : 26/06/2013
Name of the Appellant : Sh. Manoj Arya,

(RTI Activists and Social Worker) 67, Sec-

12, CPWD Flats, R K Puram, New Delhi

-110022 

Name of the Public Authority : Central Public Information Officer,

Cabinet Secretariat,

(Vigilance & Complaint Cell), 2nd Floor,

Sardar Patel Bhawan, New Delhi -110001 

The Appellant was not present in spite of notice.
On behalf of the Respondent, Shri M.P. Sajeevan, DS & CPIO was present.
The third party, Shri S B Agnihotri, DG (DEF. ACQ) MoD was present.
Chief Information Commissioner  : Shri Satyananda Mishra
2.  We heard the submissions of both the respondent and the third party in the case.
3.  In his RTI application, the Appellant had sought the copies of the  complaints made against the third party in the case and the details of the action   taken including the copies of the enquiry reports. He had also wanted the   copies of the correspondence made between the Cabinet Secretariat and the Ministry of Shipping in respect of the third party in the case. The CPIO after  consulting the third party under Section 11 of the Right to Information Act, had refused to disclose any such information by claiming that it was personal in   nature arid thus exempted under the provisions of section 8(1) (j) of the Right to   Information (RTI) Act. Not satisfied with this decision of the CP10, the Appellant   had preferred an appeal. The Appellate Authority had disposed of the appeal in   a speaking order in which he had endorsed the decision of the CPIO.

4.   We have carefully gone through the contents of the RTI application and   the order of the Appellate Authority. We have also considered the submissions   of both the respondent and the third party in the case. The entire information   sought by the Appellant revolves around the complaints made against an office   of the government and any possible action the authorities might have taken on   those complaints. The Appellate Authority was very right in deciding that this   entire class of information was qualified as personal information within the –   meaning of the provisions of Section 8 (i) (1) of the RTI Act. ‘In this connection, it   is very pertinent to bite the decision of the Supreme Court of India in the SLP(C)   No. 27734 of 2012 (Girish R Deshpande vs GIG and others) in which it has held   that 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, the disclosure of which could cause   unwarranted invasion of the privacy of that individual.” The Supreme Court   further held that such information could be disclosed only if it would serve a   larger public interest.

The information sought by the Appellant in this case is   about some complaints made against a government official and any possible   action the authorities might have taken on thosecomplaints. It is, thus, clearly   the kind of information which is envisaged in the above SupremeCourt order.   Therefore, the information is completely exempted from disclosure under the   provisions of the RTI Act which both the CPIO and the Appellate Authority have rightly cited in their respective orders.

5.   We find no grounds to interfere in the order of the Appellate Authority.   The appeal is rejected.
6.   Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
(Satyananda Mishra)
Chief Information Commissioner
Authenticated true copy. Additional copies of orders shall be supplied against application and payment of the charges prescribed under the Act to the CP10 of this  Commission.
(Vijay Bhalla)
Deputy Registrar

Download DOPT Office Memorandum No. 11/2/2013-IR (Pt.) dated 14.08.2013

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