Personal details can’t be disclosed under RTI: Delhi HC
The Delhi high court on Monday said that personal information that has no relation to any public activity or interest, and the revelation of which can cause “unwarranted invasion” into the privacy of an individual, cannot be disclosed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act .
A bench of chief justice DN Patel and justice Jyoti Singh said no larger public interest justifies the disclosure of the residential address of a candidate for a job, as well as their father’s name.
The court’s order came while dismissing a plea by a man seeking the details of the address and father’s name of candidates appointed as multi-tasking staff in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The applicant was seeking the residential address and father’s name of the selected candidates.
He challenged a January 29 decision of a single judge by the high court that dismissed his plea seeking the candidates’ details -- on the grounds that it was required to establish their bonafides -- under the RTI Act.
The single judge had also imposed a cost of ₹25,000 on the man for concealing that his daughter also appeared for the same exam. The order also noted that providing him with details of the people who were appointed would be an invasion of their privacy.
On Monday, the division bench upheld that decision, and said that the disclosure of personal information of the candidates has no relation to any public activity or interest.
“The information which relates to personal information, the disclosure of which has no relation to any public activity or interest, or the disclosure of such information is unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individuals; in such circumstances, personal information cannot be disclosed by the central or the state public information officer. Thus, section 8 of the Right to Information Act has categorically mentioned that personal information cannot be supplied which has no relation to any public activity,” the bench said in its oral order.
The court also said that it was in full agreement with the reasons given by the single judge while dismissing the plea. It noted that while all the queries of the man were answered, only one piece of information could not be given.
Advocate Anurag Alhuwalia, the central government’s standing counsel, told the court that while five of the six details sought were provided to the man, the last one -- phone numbers, name and address of the successful candidates -- was not given.