Central Information Commission Dismisses Appeal Seeking Information Seeking From National Police Academy

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Image Source: Jagran Josh

Facts

The Appellant filed an RTI application on 12th August 2018. The information sought by the Appellant was about whether Zakir Naik was issued an invitation to visit the Institute for any matter on speech, training etc., information about results of exams of IPS officers who are currently or previously serving in the Goa Police and to send a copy of RTI reply sent to S Biju Nest on 10th August 2017.

The PIO replied with two letters on 27th August 2018 and 5th October 2018. In the letters, the PIO gave a well-defined response to the information sought by the Appellant including an Academy letter dated 5th May 2013 and a copy of the reply sent to Biju S. Nest on 10th August 2017. The PIO denied information with regards to the results of exams as it constituted personal information under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005.

The Appellant was not satisfied with the PIO’s response. So, the Appellant filed for an FAA on 13th August 2018. The FAA order on 15th November 2018 supported the PIO’s response. So, the Appellant filed for an instant Second Appeal on 26th December 2018.

Arguments Advanced

The hearing was through a video conference. The Appellant stated that even though the information he sought was for the larger public interest, the Respondent denied him any information regarding the same. The Appellant also provided written submissions explaining the facts of the case. The Respondent reiterated the statements made by them in the response.

Court’s Observation 

The Commission referred to the case Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs. CIC & Ors. [(2013) 1 SCC 212] to understand the meaning of “personal information” and its disclosure which may not have any benefit to the general public.

The Commission then used the case of CPIO, Supreme Court of India vs. Subash Chandra Agarwal (2019) to understand whether mark sheets were included as part of personal information. The Commission then discussed the case of Bihar Public Service Commission vs. Saiyed Hussain Abbas Rizvi & [(2012) 13 SCC 61] to understand the relation between the expression “public interest” and “personal information”.

Decision

After analyzing several Supreme Court cases, the Commission held that there is no need for further investigation. The Commission stated that the RTI Act mustn’t be misinterpreted as an Act that allows the Appellant to overwhelm public authorities with RTI queries that cannot be disclosed. The Commission also advised the Appellant to exercise prudence while filing RTI queries. Hence it was held that the PIO did not have to provide any extra information than what has already been provided in the replies. The Second Appeal has been disposed of.

Click here to read the judgement.


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