The disclosure of records used for making of an audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) does not constitute breach of Parliament's privilege, the Central Information Commission has held.
The CIC's full bench chaired by Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said "intermediary documents" such as initial audit queries, draft audit observations and notings made by CAG before finalising audit report of an organisation are not covered under section 8(1)(c) of RTI Act.
The section allows withholding of information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature.
"In our view, these items of documents and records, being information in themselves, merit disclosure as they do not fall within any of the exemption Sections in the RTI Act," the transparency panel said.
The Commission had bunched together similar pleas of three RTI applicants, including former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, seeking such documents from Accountant Generals of Goa, Punjab and Orissa but were denied the same.
Initially, Accountant General of Goa refused the information to Parrikar saying it sought documents "intermediary documents" are merely working papers and may not come within realm of 'information' under the RTI Act.
Later, it conceded that documents were 'information' but said these were privileged and cannot be made public.
"Such information would come within the scope of Section 8(1)(c) of the Act and disclosing such information may cause a breach of privilege of Parliament," it said.