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Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

Pros and cons of exemptions under S. 8 (1)(a)-(j), 8(2) and (3), S.9 and S. 10
Central Information Commission
Decision
No.
CIC/SG/A/2009/002567/5719
CIC/SG/A/2009/002567

Appeal

No.

RequestAppellant requested under the proviso to Section 7(1) of RTI. He sought facts and
reason together with certified copies of all file noting leading to the issue of his
suspension order and the name and designation of the officer/functionary who decided
not to follow the principles of natural justice before the said suspension order was issued
together with the facts and reason specified by her/him for the same and also to provide
the definition of gross misconduct as used in the said suspension order and the
provision of the rules of the university where the said definition is provided.
The Respondent has refused to give the information sought by the Appellant on query-1
claiming exemption under Section 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act. Section 8(1)(g) exempts,
information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any
person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law
enforcement or security purposes;.
DecisionThe appeal is allowed, directing the PIO to give the information for all the queries except
the first question. The obvious implication of this is that revealing the facts and reasons
leading to the issue of suspending the appellant who is a faculty member of University
would endanger the life or physical safety of the persons who are involved in this
process. The implication of using this exemption would be that Aligarh Muslim University
believes that faculty member is capable of physically harming those who may have been
involved in the process of his suspension.
This is a very serious charge and the PIO admits that this was not in their mind at all.
Before invoking Section 8(1)(g) PIO should carefully evaluate whether It applies since it
the instant case this is invoking this section is like making an allegation against a faculty
member of the university itself. This would be reducing the respect and the structure of
the University and the PI admits that he had not realized this implication. In view of this
the exemption claimed under Section 8(1)(g) is struck down.
The Appellant claims that he is entitled for the administrative reasons under Section
4(1)(d). This is not in the domain of Information Commissioner to go into whether the
reasons provided are adequate or not. If the RTI applicants claim that the Information
Commissioners go into the merits or adequacy of reasons for each administrative
decision taken by various administrative bodies in each individual case, this is not
sustainable.
CIC/WB/C/2006/00066 of 19.04.2006RequestInformation relating to the recommendations of a Group of Ministers that had recently
visited the Narmada valley in connection with resettlement and rehabilitation projects
under the Sardar Sarovar Project in Madhya Pradesh at the behest of the Prime Minister.
Decision-

Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

The application be accompanied with substantive evidence that a threat to life and
liberty exists. The CIC passed following observation about section 7(1), which might help
you to understand the provision better.
Proviso of Section 7(1) has to be applied only in exceptional cases. Whether
the information sought concerns the life and liberty of a person has to be carefully
scrutinized and only in a very limited number of cases this ground can be relied upon.
The government machinery is not designed in a way that responses to
all RTI Applications can be given within forty-eight hours. A broad interpretation of life
and liberty would result in a substantial diversion of manpower and resources.
The life and liberty provision can be applied only in cases where there is an imminent
danger to the life and liberty of a person and the non-supply of the information may
either lead to death or grievous injury to the concerned person. Liberty of a person is
threatened if she or he is going to be incarcerated or has already been incarcerated and
the disclosure of the information may change that situation. If the disclosure of
the information would obviate the danger then it may be considered under the proviso
of Section 7(1). The imminent danger has to be demonstrably proven. The Commission
is well aware of the fact that when a citizen exercises his or her fundamental right
to information, the information disclosed may assist him or her to lead a better life. But
in all such cases, the proviso of Section 7(1) cannot be invoked unless imminent danger
to life and liberty can be proven.

F.No. CIC/AT/A/2006/00069 - Dated the 13th July, 2006


RequestAnnual Confidential Report
DecisionIn 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. Further, the ACR notings
represent an interaction based on trust and confidence between the officers
involved in initiating, reviewing or accepting the ACRs. These officers could be
seriously embarrassed and even compromised if their notings are made public. There
are, thus, reasonable grounds to protect all such information through a proper
classification under the Official Secrets Act - No public purpose is going to be served by
disclosing this information. On the contrary it may lead to harming public interest in
terms of compromising objectivity of assessment which is the core and the substance
of the ACR, which may result from the uneasiness of the Reporting, Reviewing and the
Accepting officers from the knowledge that their comments were no longer
confidential.
These ACRs are used by the public authorities for promotions, placement and
grading etc. of the officers, which are strictly house-keeping and man management
functions of any organization. A certain amount of confidentiality insulates these actions
from competing pressures and thereby promotes objectivity. It is also possible that
many officers may not like their assessment by their superiors to go into the
hands of all and sundry. If the reports are good, these may attract envy and if these are
bad, ridicule and derision. Either way it affects the employee as well as the organization
he works for. On balance, therefore, confidentiality of this information serves a larger
purpose, which far out-strips the argument for its disclosure.
Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

The Departmental Promotion Committees (DPCs) prepare their minutes and make
recommendations after examining ACRs of the employees due for promotion. Disclosure
of the complete proceedings of the DPC and the grades given by various officers to their
sub-ordinates may lead to disclosure of the ACRs. As ACRs themselves, according to us,
are barred from disclosure, we hold, that by inference the DPC proceedings
should be similarly barred.
However, in all such cases, the CPIO and the
Appellate Authorities should apply the doctrine of severability and should provide him the
information, which can be provided under sub-section (2) of Section 10 of the
Right to Information Act, 2005.
Appeal No. CIC/WB/A/2007/00422 dated 19.2.2009
The appellant sought information pertaining to Annual Confidential Reports considered
for the ad hoc promotion from the post of A.E. to the post of EE issued vide
No.28/10/2006-EC-I dated 21.4.2006 and also vide No.28/10/2006-EC-I (Voll-II) dated
12.5.2006; and a certified copy of the applicants ACR.
The CPIO declined to provide the information stating interalia as under: This information
is of confidential nature as the reports are written and reviewed by various officers on
the understanding that the remarks will be kept confidential. According to Rule 8(g) of
RTI Act, 2005, such information cannot be disclosed which would endanger the life or
physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in
confidence for law enforcement or security purposes. As such, to keep the confidentiality
of the officers who have written/reviewed ACRs, this information cannot be provided.
CPWD, the respondent had made a reference to DoPT seeking instructions regarding
disclosure of ACRs to the officer reported upon whereupon DoPT had issued an Office
Memorandum dated 21/09/2007. He also furnished a copy of the said Memorandum to
the Commission which was taken on record. Perusal of the memorandum indicates that
discretion has been left with the public authority to disclose or not to disclose ACRs to an
employee depending upon as to whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the
harm to the protected interest.
The Single Bench took note of the fact that at present only adverse entries are being
communicated to the Government employees as per extant rules. The Commission also
took note of the decision of its Division Bench in CIC/AT/A/2006/00069 which has
held that confidentiality of the ACRs serves a larger purpose which outstrips the
arguments for its disclosure. However, in view of the decision of the Honble Supreme
Court in Dev Dutt Vs. Union of India & ors. - (2008)8SCC725. the Single Bench of
the this Commission decided to refer the matter to the Chief Information Commissioner
for constitution of a Full Bench of the Commission to hear and decide the issue of
disclosure of ACRs in view of the changed circumstances.
The only question for consideration in this case is as to whether a copy of the ACR of the
Appellant for the year 2003-04 can be furnished to him under the RTI Act in view of the
above mentioned decision of the Honble Apex Court. The Supreme Court has further
observed in the judgment as follows:Every entry1 (and not merely a poor or adverse entry) relating to an employee under
the State or an instrumentality of the State, whether in civil, judicial, police or other
service (except the military) must be communicated to him, within a reasonable period,
and it makes no difference whether there is a benchmark or not. Even if there is no
benchmark, non-communication of an entry may adversely affect the employee s
chances of promotion (or getting some other benefit), because when comparative merit
is being considered for promotion (or some other benefit), a person having a good or
average or fair entry certainly has less chances of being selected than a person having
a very good or outstanding entry. The Apex Court held that in their opinion this is the
Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

correct legal position even though there may be no Rule/G.O. requiring communication
of the entry, or even if there is a Rule/G.O. prohibiting it, because the principle of nonarbitrariness in State action as envisaged by Article 14 of the Constitution in our opinion
requires such communication. Article 14 will override all rules or government orders.
The opinion issued vide DoPT I.D. No.21011/1/2008-Estt(A) dated 26.8.2008
reads as under: In regard to the disclosure of ACR entries which are adverse, this
Department has not issued any instructions after the Supreme Court judgment in Dev
Dutt Vs. UOI (Civil Appeal No.7631/2002). After careful analysis of the import of the
judgment, the Government have decided to file a Review petition in the Supreme Court
in the case.
As regards point (b) para 5 of the AMs note, the IR Seciton, which is the nodal Section
for RTI Act, has advised that till the time administrative instructions are issued, the CPIO
may take a decision with regard to the disclosure of the ACRs in light of the
provisions of RTI Act, 2005 and the decision of the Supreme Court. The objective
of the Right to Information Act is also to bring transparency and accountability in the
working of all Public Authorities. The disclosure of ACRs to the concerned employee
cannot, therefore, be denied in the light of decision/directions of the Honble Apex Court,
in which in developing the principle of natural justice that Honble Court has ruled that
"The concept of natural justice has undergone a great deal of change in recent years. In
the past it was thought that it included just two rules, namely (1) no one shall be a
judge in his own cause (Nemo debet csse judex propria causa), and (2) no decision shall
be given against a party without affording him a reasonable hearing (audi alteram
partem). Very soon thereafter a third rule was envisaged and that is that quasi-judicial
enquiries must be held in good faith, without bias and not arbitrarily or unreasonably.
But in the course of years many more subsidiary rules came to be added to the rules of
natural justice.
This does not however imply that it will necessarily be desirable to provide either a
photocopy or a certified copy of the ACRs to a public servant. Similarly, one cannot seek
an Annual Confidential Report of some one else as a matter of right. Such disclosure
would be permissible only when the larger public interest so warrants. In view of the
above, the respondent Public Authority is directed to communicate the entries in the
ACRs to the appellant for the period asked for by him in his RTI application within a
period of 10 working days from the date of receipt of this Decision Notice.

CIC/AT/A/2006/00311-3.11.2006
RequestEmployees' personal information
DecisionThe 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
Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

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.
22/IC(A)/ 30.3.2009
RequestI.T. Returns
DecisionIncome 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).
RequestFiles pertaining to an ongoing disciplinary proceeding involving the appellant.
DecisionConsidering the fact that these files are currently subject-matter of an ongoing enquiry,
any action for disclosure of information thereof will surely impede the enquiry. The
Enquiry Officer is entitled to conduct the enquiry as per the procedure established by the
Rules governing conduct of such enquiries without any intrusive probing by the officers
enquired into or by third-parties. This is consistent with the decision of the Commission
in
V.K.
Gulati
Vs.
DG
Vig.
Customs
&
Central
Excise;
Appeal
No.
CIC/AT/A/2007/01508; Dt: 17.06.2008 that file-notings in vigilance and enquiryrelated files, which are held confidentially by a public authority, must not be allowed to
be disclosed to the employee or to any other seeking that information. The reason for
that is sanguine. First, such disclosures serve no public interest. The employees
personal interest cannot be conflated with public interest. Second, such disclosures
undeniably cause injury to the interest of the third-party, who holds these file-notings in
certain special category of files, i.e. vigilance and enquiry-related files, confidentially.
The officers and members of the staff who make such notings perform the thankless task
of commenting on the conduct, reputation, behaviour of the officers enquired into apart
from analyzing the evidence in order to help the competent authority make an informed
decision. Such comments and remarks recorded by officers, if disclosed to the very
person against whom these are recorded, have the potentiality of being used by the
employee to start legal processes against these officers for charges such as defamation,
criminal conspiracy and so on.
There is also a chance that the officer enquired into attempt to seek vengeance against
those who recorded adverse notes against him in the note-files. The vengeance can take
several forms, such as physical and mental threats, causing annoyance, long and
expensive judicial proceedings and so on. Even if such actions of the employees or
others sympathetic to them, do not yield any useful result to them; as long as these
actions last, they cause boundless anxiety, annoyance, physical discomfort and stress to
the officers for no fault of theirs, and in true fact, for doing their job ably, honestly and
conscientiously. Anonymity of officers recording file-notes deserves to be protected in
their own interest as well as the interest of the system they serve.

Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

There is, therefore, enough reason to conclude that disclosure of confidential file-notings
in vigilance, investigation and enquiry-related files, attracts the first proviso of Section
11(1), i.e. it possessing the power to inflict possible harm or injury to the interests of
such third-party. The public authority is duty-bound to protect the interests of its
officers who examine through their notings in files the conduct of other employees of the
public authority and thereby expose themselves to possible revengeful action by those
whose conduct they bring under scanner.
Appeal No.908/ICPB/2007-F.No.PBA/07/211-17.9.2007The CIC reiterated its earlier decisions stating that if the information sought relates to a
pending proceeding before a competent court/tribunal, then the said information should
be obtained only through court /tribunal and not under the provisions of the RTI Act.
Appeal 05/IC(A)/CIC/2006 Dt. 3.3.2006
RequestPAN Number
DecisionPAN 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.

Decision No. CIC /WB/A/2008/00838/1777


The appellate authority had claimed exemption under Section 8 (1) (e), but the PIO has
given no reason to justify how Section 8 (1) (e) can apply. The CIC decision cited by the
respondent states The matter is sub judice. The appellate authority has correctly
advised that information in question could be obtained through Court, which is
examining the matter. No reasoning has been offered as to which exemption clause of
the RTI act applies. The only exemption of Section 8 (1) which might remotely apply is
Section 8(1)(b) which states, information which has been expressly forbidden to be
published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute
contempt of court; can be denied.
This clause does not cover sub judice matters, and unless an exemption is specifically
mentioned, information cannot be denied. Disclosing information on matters which are
sub judice does not constitute contempt of Court, unless there is a specific order
forbidding its disclosure. I respectfully have to disagree with the earlier decision cited by
the appellant since it is per incuriam. This Commission rules that a matter being sub
judice cannot be used as a reason for denying information under the Right to
Information Act.
F.No. CIC/AT/ A/2006/00500 Dt.16.01.2007
RequestSignificant Decisions of Information Commissions

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

Copies of complaint lodged by the applicant and action taken on the same.
The Commission has been approached by Government servants facing investigations,
departmental action and other enquiries, to know the names of those who filed
complaints against them.
DecisionSuch disclosures, if allowed, have the potentiality to put at risk the interest and the
physical safety of those who file such complaints.
There are specific provisions in various Laws, Rules, Orders and instructions regarding
the entitlement of a person facing an enquiry, investigation or disciplinary action for
documents, records, etc. What he can access and cannot access is also specified. On the
other hand, the RTI Act makes an omnibus provision regarding disclosure of all variety of
information to a requester, who can also be a person facing investigation etc., but quite
cautiously limits this right through certain exemptions. The eligibility of such persons to
access information as requested is to be determined under the provision of the RTI Act
regardless of what the other Laws may prescribe. The two eligibilities are best examined
independently. An employee facing disciplinary action at the hands of his superiors may
wish to invoke the RTI Act to access the file/records in which his case may be dealt with,
but will be hindered by the exemption provided under Section 8(1)(j) since the
information sought would be personal to him with no relationship to any public activity or
interest. The appeal is consequently rejected.
63/IC (A)/2006 30 March 2006
RequestInformation regarding Travel Expenses of the public officials
DecisionTravel expenses were charged to the public account. Disclosure of information can not be
denied on the ground of this being personal information and not a public activity and
serves no public interest, etc. Travel has 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.
22/IC (A)/2006 30.3.2006.
RequestThe Appellant had requested for information on the following three points in relating to
her husband who has retired as Tax Assistant in August, 2008:(i) Details of family members, nomination for DCRG, nomination for pension and
other related papers with regard to pension;
(ii) The amount Shri A. Manoharan received towards DCRG, commutation value of
pension, provident fund, leave encashment and any other amount
received by him at the time of retirement or after retirement due to him.
(ii) The amount of monthly pension and family pension entitled. It is her apprehension
that her husband would squander away the pensionary benefit without peer group
pressure and in that eventuality, her children will be left high and dry, without any
pecuniary resources for their education and other social obligations. It is her forceful
submission that she needs the information mentioned here in above in the interest of the
future of her children.
CPIO refused to disclose the information in terms of section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act, that the
information has been rightly denied to her inasmuch as she is seeking information in her
Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

personal interest and that no larger public interest is involved in the disclosure of this
information
DecisionIt was held that the information sought by the Appellant cannot be said to be personal
information, as being a legally wedded wife, she has a legitimate claim on the
information sought by her for the reasons mentioned herein above. Looked at from this
perspective, to treat the husband and wife as separate entities in the context of RTI Act
may not be legally correct. Therefore, application of larger public interest test may not
be appropriate in the matter in hand.
File No. CIC/LS/A/2008/00245 dt.31.3.2009
RequestCopy of valuation report in respect of 10 buildings submitted to Central Bureau of
Investigation. It is the apprehension of the appellant that differential norms have been
adopted by the District Valuation Officer, in assessing the buildings. The CPIO had
refused to disclose information under section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act. On appeal, the
Appellate Authority had upheld the decision CPIO.
DecisionAs it is deemed expedient to peruse the files relating to aforesaid two buildings, the
respondent is directed to produce files relating to the above mentioned two buildings on
the next date of hearing, as an interim direction.

F.No.CIC/AT/A/2007/01508 Dt. the 17.6.2008.


The RTI-application of the appellant contains questions such as basis of allegations and
queries regarding other types of explanations originating from the disclosure of U.O.
Note under the RTI Act to the appellant which was apparently the basis on which
departmental and criminal proceedings were commenced.
Whether the information requested by the appellant which was the evidence in that
criminal proceeding comes within the prohibition of Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act.
In this judgment of the Commission held that denial of information to the appellant
under Section 8(1)(h) is justified.
Commission has received several appeals of a like nature from civil servants facing
disciplinary proceedings, criminal investigations and prosecutions for acts of
misdemeanour, malfeasance, corruption, indiscipline and so on. In most of these cases,
the respondents invoked the provisions of Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act to deny
information to the appellants over and above those which they (the appellants) might
have had access to either through the Enquiry Officer in a disciplinary proceeding, or
through the investigating agency, or through the Court. In all the above matters, there
are specific statutes and rules, under which such employees access to information is
determined. For example, what information, an accused could access under the
Prevention of Corruption Act, Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC)
and Civil Procedure Code (CPC) is provided in those Acts itself, which can be modified by
the discretion which the Court or the investigating agency has about disclosing that
information.

Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

Similarly, in disciplinary cases, the Enquiry Officer determines the extent of access to
documents and records, which the officer investigated against would have. Appellate
remedies are available to the officer facing disciplinary proceedings. Accused and
delinquent officers under the above statutes approach this Commission to invoke the
provisions of the RTI Act aimed principally at expanding their access to the information
beyond what those statutes provide, or beyond what the authorized officer, or the Court
under those statutes, allow the appellants to access using the authorized officers or
Courts discretion. In other words, RTI Act is now being used not only to expand the
access of the accused and delinquent officers to information germane to the proceedings
against them; it is also used to circumscribe the discretion of the authorized officer or
the Courts in given matters. A question has been raised whether authorizing a
delinquent officer to access information under RTI Act, beyond what he would have been
authorized under those other statutes, would amount to impeding those processes as
laid-down in the Section 8(1)(h) of the RTI Act.

It was argued before the Commission that the expression impede used in Section
8(1)(h) should be construed as impeding a given investigation, disciplinary or
prosecution process, or having potentiality to do so. According to this argument,
expanding an employees access to documents and records in excess of what he would
be entitled to under the statutes or rules under which he might be facing action, or what
would be authorized to him under the discretion vested in the Court and the authorized
officers under those statutes, undoubtedly has the potentiality to impede the processes
current under those statutes. When an Enquiry Officer in a disciplinary proceeding and
Investigating Officer under the CrPC / IPC or the Prevention of Corruption Act or any
such Act decides that a certain set of documents be disclosed to the delinquent officer
and, not other documents, such E.O./ I.O or Judge / Magistrate applies his / her rational
consideration to such disclosure and decides not only to allow the officer access to
certain document but also to exclude his access to certain others. Exclusion of access to
documents may be in writing, or may be the net-result of the exercise of Enquiry
Officers direction to limit the access of a delinquent employee to a certain set of
documents. That is to say, exclusion of access to certain documents can flow from the
very act of limiting the delinquent employees access tocertain documents.
Now, if the RTI Act is invoked to allow access to documents which the Courts / I.O. /
E.O. would exclude, the net-effect of such RTI-action could be impeding the processes
under those other statutes.
The Commission is in agreement with this line of argument. The term impede occurring
in Section 8(1)(h) has to be broadly interpreted. The respondents are quite right in
holding that the Commission cannot substitute its own rational judgement about what
information should not be disclosed to delinquent employees, for the judgement of the
E.O. / Courts / I.O. under given statutes. Authorizing disclosure of information under RTI
Act, denied to an employee under other statutes, amounts to impeding the extant
processes under those statutes. In that sense, it amount to RTI being invoked to reverse
the orders of those other statutory authorities for which there is no scope in this Act.
Any attempt to do so would amount to assumption of authority not clearly vested.
Additionally, italso needs to be remembered that in terms of access to information the
RTI Act is the general Act whereas the Acts such as the Prevention of Corruption Act are
specific Acts. Similar is case with the disciplinary procedure and the rules thereof vis-vis the RTI Act. In the present case, it is an admitted fact that action against appellant
was initiated under Prevention of Corruption Act, which being a specific Act to the RTIgeneral Act must hold ground against the RTI Act. In other words, the appellant cannot
be authorized to expand his access to records and documents beyond what the Court
has authorized him to in course of the prosecution he is facing under the Prevention of
Corruption Act.
Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

In the Commissions view, therefore, the appellant has no right to demand access to
information admittedly germane to an ongoing investigation or prosecution against him
or a disciplinary proceeding that may be pending, by invoking the provisions of the RTI
Act. Since disclosure of that information under the RTI Act is sure to impede the extant
processes under other statutes, this appellant should be content with the information
provided to him under those statutes by the authorized officers and the Court. He will no
doubt have remedies under provisions of those Acts / Rules to seek appropriate relief for
himself against the orders of the E.O / I.O. or Court. RTI Act cannot provide him the
type of access he wishes to have.
The Commission wishes to express itself firmly against attempts by employees of public
authorities facing different types of actions for their acts of malfeasance invoking the
provisions of RTI Act in order to garner evidence or contrive methodologies to defeat the
processes to bring them to book. While Commission is cognizant of the rights of such
applicants, it cannot also overlook the fact that the action against such officers under
other statutes was to combat corruption, indiscipline and other such offences, which is
an objective which RTI Act, in its Preamble, endorses.
The Commission would be weakening the edifice built over the years to combat
corruption, indiscipline and malfeasance by government employees, if it allows the RTI
Act to be used as an instrument to interrupt and derail the statutory processes through
which such employees are sought to be disciplined, or punished for their acts of omission
and commission. If allowed, this will weaken the purpose for which this RTI Act was
enacted. The Commission will, therefore, scrutinize requests for information such as this
with utmost caution in the context of the Preamble to the RTI Act.
CIC/MA/A/2006/00012- Dt.10.3. 2006
RequestChief Commissioner of Customs sought the names of importers and exporters in daily list
of import and export which are being published from the custom houses. But a
notification No. 128/2004-Cus (NT) dated 19 November 2004 forbids the disclosure of
the names requested.
The CIC held that the notification containing rules are in the nature of subordinate
legislation is appropriate under section 8(1) (d) of the RTI Act.
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2009/001343/4053
The traditional definition of a fiduciary is a person who occupies a position of trust in
relation to someone else, therefore requiring him to act for the latter's benefit within the
scope of that relationship. In business or law, we generally mean someone who has
specific duties, such as those that attend a particular profession or role, e.g. financial
analyst or trustee. The information must be given by the holder of information when
there is a choice- as when a litigant goes to a particular lawyer, or a patient goes to
particular doctor. It is also necessary that the principal character of the relationship is
the trust placed by the provider of information in the person to whom the information is
given.
An equally important characteristic for the relationship to qualify as a fiduciary
relationship is that the provider of information gives the information for using it for his
the benefit of the giver. When a committee is formed to give a report, the information
provided by it in the report cannot be said to be given in a fiduciary relationship. All
relationships usually have an element of trust, but all of them cannot be classified as
fiduciary.
Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

10

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

Appeal No. 17/IC(A)/2006 F.No. 11/54/2006-CIC Dated, the 28th March, 2006
RequestThe appellant asked for all the valuation reports of the last two years of immovable
assets of borrowers. The appellate authority upheld the decision of CPIO and contended
that the information sought is exempted from disclosure under 8(1)(d),(e) and (j) of RTI
Act, stating that, loaning is a public activity and the prevailing practice of unduly
excessive valuation of substandard assets have led to increase in NPA. So in wider public
interest, overvalued loans needs to be exposed. Commissions.
DecisionDisbursement of loans is a public activity and therefore the issue of NPA is a matter of
serious concern to the society. However, disclosure of reports of valuation of immovable
properties of borrowers is not enough to identify the sources of NPA. The appellant has
not asked for the details of bad loans that have contributed to NPA or the action taken
by the Bank to recover loans. It therefore cannot be established how the valuation
reports of last two years would indicate the extent of NPA attributable to high or low
valuation of properties of borrowers. In fact, the appellant has made a mention of NPA in
his appeal to the Commission, while he was silent on this issue in his original application
for information.
The link between valuation of mortgaged properties of borrowers and NPA is not clear.
There is therefore no bonafide public interest in disclosure of valuation reports submitted
to the Bank by the borrowers. The Bank is also required to maintain secrecy of details of
loan accounts as it is personal information and is also in the nature of commercial
confidence. The exemption from disclosure of information under Section 8(1)(d),(e) and
(j) has been correctly applied by the Bank.
The appeal is therefore dismissed.
Appeal No.376-382/ICPB/2006 F.No.PBA/06/440, 476 to 481, Dt.5.3.2007
Request.......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.
DecisionIn 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.
Appeal No. 19/IC(A)/2006 Order dated 29-03-2006
RequestAppellant sought details of loans sanctioned and disbursed to a particular company not
indicated the bonafide public interest in seeking the info
DecisionSignificant Decisions of Information Commissions

11

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

CIC upheld the view that 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, 29/03/2006
RequestThe appellant has sought the details of loans already sanctioned and disbursed to a
particular Company. He has however not indicated the bonafide public interest in seeking
the information.
DecisionThe 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).
Decision No.1739/IC(A)/2007 F. No.CIC/MA/A/2007/00783 of 26/12/2007.
RequestThe appellant had sought certain information about a company of which he was a
shareholder. He had alleged that the Company, as identified in his application, has been
conducting its business activities in an illegal manner and has thus earned profit through
corrupt practices. In this context, he had sought inspection of the relevant documents,
which was allowed. But, the identified documents had not been furnished to him.
In response to his application for information, the CPIO sought concurrence of the
Company (the third party) u/s 11 of the Act, which did not permit the disclosure of
information asked for by the appellant. Not being satisfied, in his appeal before CIC,
appellant pleaded that information sought should be furnished.
DecisionA major concern of the RTI Act is to contain corruption. The disclosure of information
relating to corrupt practices of public/private companies is, therefore, largely in public
interest. The allegations made by the appellant about the illegal activities of the
Company in question should have been investigated by the competent body, mainly the
respondent. It does not seem to have been done. The appellant is, therefore, advised to
approach the competent authority to investigate the allegations made by him so as to
find the facts in the matter or to establish that allegations, as above, are motivated for
promoting personal interest of the appellant.
As the matter pertains to alleged corruption, disclosure of information is largely in
public interest. Denial of information u/s 8(1)(d) of the Act, after having shown the
entire records to the appellant is, therefore, untenable. Based on above, CIC directed
the CPIO to acquire the information asked for u/ s.2(f) of the Act and furnish the same
to the appellant within 15 working days from the date of issue of its decision.
Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

12

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

(CIC/A/12/2006 dated 21.02.06)


The government cannot wrongly classify its documents as Secret and then claim
exemption from disclosure.
Decision
No.
CIC/SG/A/2009/002343/5489
CIC/SG/A/2009/002343

Appeal

No.

Appellant sought the details of movable property and immovable property and annual
property returns of all the working staff in National Council for Teacher Education since
1995 to 30 May 2009
Information was provided by the PIO for the last 3 years and whose records are easily
available had been complied by him and given. PIO mentioned that compiling such
mammoth information from different files of the head quarters as well as its Regional
offices for nearly 14 years would throw out of gear, the functioning of the NCTE.
And further refused to provide the copies of Annual Property Returns, whether movable
or immovable, sought by the Appellant in respect of each and every officer/official of
NCTE, as not permitted in terms of Section 8(1) (J) of the RTI Act, 2005, as these are
personal information.
While allowing the appeal CIC held that disclosure of information such as assets of
a Public servant, -which is routinely collected by the Public authority and
routinely provided by the Public servants,- cannot be construed as an invasion
on the privacy of an individual. There will only be a few exceptions to this rule
which might relate to information which is obtained by a Public authority while
using extraordinary powers such as in the case of a raid or phone-tapping. Any
other exceptions would have to be specifically justified. Besides the Supreme Court has
clearly ruled that even people who aspire to be public servants by getting elected have
to declare their property details. If people who aspire to be public servants must declare
their property details it is only logical that the details of assets of those who are public
servants must be considered to be disclosable. Hence the exemption under Section 8(1)
(j) cannot be applied in such a case.
Case No. CIC/AT/A/2009/000260 Dated: 30th September, 2009
Relating to the selection and appointment for the post of senior scientist at Indian Lac
Research Institute, Ranchi, The appellant asked for certified copies of the score cards
w.r.t. each of the candidate for above mentioned post and complete details (including
name and designation) of the officers / employees who were responsible for scrutinizing
the application form of individual candidates and awarding scores to the individual
candidates.
The application was rejected under section 8(1) (e), (g) & (j) of RTI Act.
The Commission while directing to provide only the marks awarded to each candidate by
the Screening Committee be disclosed, without disclosing the identity of experts who had
awarded those marks and also the list showing names of the candidates who applied for
the above post.
It was observed that the present petition is covered by the ratio of Commissions
decision dated 4.4.2007 in the case of Dr. Vijendra Singh Vs. ASRB in Appeal
No.CIC/AT/A/2006/00579, which is as follows:It should be possible to disclose considerable information without attracting Sections
8(1)(e) and 8(1)(g) of the exemptions. It should be possible to disclose the marks
awarded to each candidate by the Screening Committee without disclosing the identity of
experts who are awarding those marks. For example, it can be disclosed to the appellant
Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

13

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

as to how many experts were associated with the preparation of the shortlist at the level
of the Screening Committee and, what marks each awarded to each candidate. The
names of the experts can be suitably camouflaged by identifying them by some number
or alphabet rather than by their actual names. It can be said for example that Expert
No.1 awarded so and so marks to so and so candidate and so on.
Similarly, in respect of the deliberations of the Interview Board, the candidates may be
apprised about the methodology of evaluation adopted by the members of the Board and
the marks awarded to each candidate without disclosing the identities of those awarding
these marks.
At the end of it all, only the candidates names with the marks received by each shall
stand disclosed, along with the methodology of evaluation; but the names of experts will
remain undisclosed. Where the names of the members of an Interview or Evaluation
Board or Committee are known, the marks awarded by such member to each candidate
shall be kept undisclosed. In all such cases only the aggregate marks received by each
candidate from all the members of Selection Committee / Interview Board shall be made
known, and not the break-down of the marks member-wise.
In consideration of the above, it is directed that the respondents will supply the
information to the appellant after suitably deleting under Section 10(1) of the RTI Act
those parts of the information which may disclose the identity of the persons and link
them to the marks awarded to the candidates.
Appeal No. CIC/MA/A/2008/01178 dt. 16/09/2009
An ex-UNICEF staffer sought information regarding the findings of the investigation in
the complaint dated 04/12/2007 to the Honble Minister for Woman & Child Development
regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault against the Country Representative of
UNICEF, India.
The information has been denied u/s 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act. When queried as to under
which part of clause 8 (a) the information has been denied, she would submit that the
information has been denied on the ground that disclosure of requested information
would prejudicially affect the relations of India with Unicef which is an International Body
under the United Nations which, according to her, may be deemed to be a foreign State.
CIC categorically held that the matter needs to be decided in the light of the
Constitutional mandate as interpreted by the Honble Supreme Court of India referred to
hereinabove and the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.
It is noteworthy that both CPIO and AA have denied the requested information under
section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act (a) Information, disclosure of which, would prejudicially
affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or
economic interests of the state, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an
offence. The Commission further reiterated and re-emphasised that sexual harassment
is violation of the fundamental rights of the victim under Articles 14, 15, 19(1)(g) and 21
of the Constitution of India.
On the question whether information has been correctly denied under clause (a) of
section 8(1) of the RTI Act, CIC remarked that no evidence has been produced to
establish that disclosure of information in the matter on hand would prejudicially affect
relations of India with foreign state. On the contrary, denial of information is not only
contrary to the constitutional mandate but also out of line with the Declaration of Human
Rights and CEDAW. Ironically, denial of information is also not in conformity with the law
laid down by the Supreme Court of India in Vishakha case. Needless to say, the matter
in hand involves the dignity of a working woman. All that she has requested for is a copy
of the Inquiry Report submitted to the Ministry of Woman and Child Development and
Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

14

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

some other related material. The orders of the CPIO & FAA are held not sustainable in
law and set aside.

Assam State Information Commission


Case No. KP(M) 18/2007
The Commission is of the view that the gradings in the ACRs are to be disclosed by the
Public Authority. The Commission observed that Section 8(1) (d) and 8(1) (e) of the RTI
Act are not applicable in the case of disclosing the gradings of the officers in ACRs and
they do not fall under the sections 8(1) (d) and 8(1)(e). In this case, there is no case of
commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property involved and hence this
clause is not applicable.
The relationship of an officer with superior officers who record/ review/ accept the
gradings in ACR cannot be termed as a relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary
as the ACR of a particular officer is recorded, received and accepted in a purely
administrative manner and the officer whose ACR is recorded can never be termed as a
beneficiary and the Government as a trustee. The Public Authority can recourse to the
exemption under section 8(1)(j) of the Act in respect of Annual Confidential Reports
particularly with regard to the portions of the ACR in which the personal data and
particulars are recorded, observations and comments made on the character and
conduct and efficiency by the reporting / reviewing / accepting authority where the
disclosure of these points has no relationship to any public activity or interest and is
likely to cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual.

Case Nos : 166/2006


A student filed a petition that he sought for copies of the answer-scripts in English,
Chemistry and Mathematics of Higher Secondary Examination, but the Controller of
Examinations, Assam Higher Secondary Education Council, informed him that the
answer-scripts or copies thereof which are confidential documents are not permissible to
be provided to anyone except under orders of the Court of Law. He was also informed
that the answerscripts are kept only for a limited period of time after declaration of
result and then disposed off.
The Deputy Controller of Examination submitted that as per recommendations
of the Examination Committee dated 24-11-86, the answer-scripts are to be
destroyed after a period of 4(four) months except in respect of those answerscripts that are under re-evaluation as per the request of the examinees. He
further submitted that a large number of candidates appear for Council Examination
annually and it would be a huge task to furnish copies of the answer-scripts to the
candidates applying for it.
According to him when a case is filed in the Hon'ble High Court, a direction is
usually received for producing the answer-scripts for examination by the Court.
Copies of the answer scripts are not given to the High Court or any candidate as
they are considered highly confidential documents till their disposal. He further
stated that the Council gets the answer-scripts of the subjects re-examined as prayed for
by the candidates as per the present policy of the Council, without providing them to the
examinees.
The Commission carefully considered the submissions of the parties. The
examinees have the right to know the process of evaluation of their answerSignificant Decisions of Information Commissions

15

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

script as they are the affected parties. The right to information as defined under
Section 2(j) of the RTI Act, 2005 is applicable in so far as the right of the
examinees to obtain certified/photostat copies of the answer-script is
concerned. The difficulties presented by the representatives of AHSEC are
matters of administrative concern which in no way stand to negate the right of
the appellant to access to information.
It is also observed that the process of furnishing photocopies of the answerscripts will not adversely impact on the resources of the Council because by
their own admission it was revealed that taking photocopy in the market costs
only Rupee one per page whereas appellant would be required to pay Rupees
two per page. It may not also be the case that all those 20,000 or odd students who
apply for re-evaluation would demand copies of answer-scripts. It will be reasonable to
expect not more than 50% of the examinees who want reevaluation would seek copies of
the answer-scripts.
The Commission keeping in view the interest of transparency and accountability
in the conduct of public examination and in larger public interest deemed it
appropriate to admit the appeal and accordingly ordered under Section
19(8)(a) of the RTI Act that the AHSEC, Guwahati shall provide the answerscripts in English, Chemistry and Mathematics as sought by the appellant within
15 days from the date of this order. The appellant will be liable to pay the required
charges per page as calculated and intimated to him by the AHSEC.

Bihar State Information Commission


Case No. 77 / 06-07 Dt. 08.05.2007
Road permit is a public document. Information about road permits or commercial taxes
is the right of very citizen. Such information has no bearing on the exemptions provided
for in S. 8(1)(d) and S. 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act, 2005. The PIOs argument about the
possibility of such information being used for looting-during-riots, ransom-demands
etc was not accepted and hence these were not accepted as reasons for not disclosing
said information.

Goa State Information Commission


Appeal No. 99/2009
In view of section 8(1)(g) the details of station diary, case diary cannot be disclosed to a
requester as it may have far reaching consequences in terms of confidentiality of the
information received by the police and may even endanger the physical safety of those
examined by the police authorities. The Advocate for the Appellant contends that the
same Public Information Officer in another request for information by some other party
has provided the copies of the station diary.
Such a request for station diary or Police case diary normally cannot be given. However,
as mentioned above, copy of station diary has been provided to different information
seekers. In such a situation some information without unduly compromising with the
principle, especially when they pertain to the law enforcement authorities, can be given.

Kerala State Information Commission


Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

16

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

Ref: Applicant No. 94(2)/2009/SIC, dated 23 January 2009, Paul Thomas C. Vs.
Coir Development Director & S.S. Chanbibi, Project director & State PIO, Office of
the Coir project Officer
Request for information by the appellant pertaining to the period older than 20 years was
rejected by the PIO on the grounds that information prior to the period being more than
20 years does not come within the period which RTI stipulates. The SIC observed that RTI
does not stipulate any time bar for providing information and hence the opinion of the
respondents was wrong1. The SIC therefore ordered the PA to provide all the information
to the applicant irrespective of the time to which the information sought pertains.

Ref: AP.No.860(4)/2008/SIC (File No.8317/SIC-Gen3/2008) : Shri. P. C. George M.L.A vs.


Industries (H) Department : Order dated 4 March 2009:
Appellant had requested for a copy of the Techno Economic Feasibility Report for
production of Titanium sponge. SPIO, Industries (H) Department had rejected the claim
because the feasibility report was a joint venture of two companies for the production of
Titanium sponge and the disclosure of the same would prejudicially affect the commercial
confidence and trade secrets of the Governmental Organisations involved in it and, there
was no public interest warranting the disclosure
Ref: AP. No. 804(4)/2008/SIC (File No.7917/SIC-Gen3/2008): Shri. P. G. K. Nair vs.
KSEB, Kozhikode, Kerala: Order dated 5 February 2009
Appellants request for the report of the Chief Engineer, civil construction of a Composite
Dam was denied u/s.8 of RTI act on the ground that the case was pending before the Hon.
High Court. SIC observed thus: Section 8(i)(b) of the RTI Act had exempted documents
that were expressly forbidden by the Court of Law, Tribunal or the disclosure of which may
constitute contempt of court. Here, there was no express prohibition or express
pronunciation of any order by any court prohibiting the furnishing of the information. A
report alleged to have been prepared by a Chief Engineer was not a document or
information, publication of which would constitute contempt of court. Therefore, the
shelter taken u/s.8(i) (b) of the RTI Act was not available to the parties concerned.
Therefore, Commission hereby directs the PIO to provide the information

Ref: A.P. No. 927(5)/2008/SIC (File No. 9075/SIC-G1/2008): Shri. K.S. Rajan
Vs. Office of Director of Public Instruction, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala : Order
dated 23 January 2009
&
A.P. No. 927(5)/2008/SIC (File No. 9075/SIC-G1/2008): Shri. K.S. Rajan Vs.
Office of Director of Public Instruction, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala: Order dated

Appellant had requested for copy of the petition filed based on which the Super check Cell
of DPI inspected and disallowed two divisions of the school of which he was the PTA
president. Information was not provided u/s. 8(i)(g) as there was the possibility of
endangering the life and physical safety of the person who submitted the petition against
the school. The SIC observed that the disclosure of the information regarding complaint
petitions may endanger the life and physical safety of the person sending such
1

Under Sec 8 (3) of RTI act, the Public Authority, subject to the provisions of clauses (a), (c) and (i) of sub-section 8 (1), is
bound to provide any information relating to any matter which has taken place twenty years before the date on which any
request is made. However, this does not mean that information beyond 20 years should not be provided.
Significant Decisions of Information Commissions
17

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

complaints. Hence, the Commission upholds the decision of the State Public Information
Officer and Appellate Authority.
Ref: A.P. No. 1005(5)/2008/SIC (File No. 9847/SIC-G3/2008): Sri.V.Sugathan
Vs. Office of Inspector General of Police, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala : Order
dated 5 February 2009

The appellant submitted that he requested for the preliminary enquiry report and
statement of witnesses as a detailed enquiry was ordered against him. The denial of the
same u/s. 8(i)(h) was not tenable, as he was not facing any investigation envisaged u/s.
8(i)(h) of the RTI Act. No criminal case was charged against him. He was facing only a
departmental enquiry. A copy of the enquiry report had to be given to him under natural
justice.

The State Public Information Officer submitted that the enquiry report could not be
provided, as the detailed enquiry was not over. The memo of charge was approved.
Hence, the information required by the appellant could not be provided at this stage of
enquiry.

The Commission observed that the information requested was in no way connected with
the investigation of any crime or apprehension or criminal prosecution of the offenders.
The section 8(i)(h) clearly provides that the information, which would impede the process
of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders, is exempted from disclosure.
In the instant case, the departmental enquiry has been ordered against the appellant. The
departmental enquiry is not an investigation as envisaged u/s. 8(i)(h) of the RTI Act.
Hence, the denial of the information u/s. 8(i)(h) will not stand in the premises of law.
Ref: AP.No.01/2007/SIC (File No.4245/SIC-Gen2/2006): Smt. Geeta Sethu
Madhavan Vs. Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission: Order
dated 16 June 2007
Appellant had field two separate applications for gathering details regarding the long
pending cases before the Kerala State Consumer Redressal Commission. Interim reply:
Secretary of the Kerala State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission had intimated that
the reply could be furnished only after collecting the requisite data from the Kerala State
Consumer Redressal Commission. Information on her first request was fully provided while
information on second request was mentioned as not available
The commission noted thus: The implications and impediments that are likely to arise out
of furnishing the information and the apprehended inconveniences in furnishing the
information are evident from the request itself. It could also be seen from the submissions
of the Secretary that this information could not be furnished without employing the entire
men and material available with the Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission. This is not
information as held by the Public Authority. Reference can be made to Section 7, subsection 9 of the RTI Act, in this regard. Information shall ordinarily be provided in the form
in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the public
authority or would be detrimental to the preservation and safety of the record in question.
Therefore, the answers for the questions raised as Part (b) could be collected only with
much difficulty. However, because it is within the command of the public authority, the
information will have to be furnished by resorting to a sincere attempt to collect the
information within a reasonable time, however, difficult it might be.

Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

18

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

Another request made by the appellant as corollary to part (a) was not provided citing that
State Consumer Redressal Commission prohibiting disclosure of certain species of
information u/s of RTI act. The Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission regrettably has
mistaken the provisions of Section 8 of the RTI Act. There is no provision to anyone to
issue an order prohibiting furnishing of information except on those conditions enumerated
in the exception clause of Section 8 of the RTI Act. Giving an order or passing an order
giving instructions to the public information officer and appellate authority not to divulge
information was hence an exercise without jurisdiction. Therefore, the Commission finds
that the Appellate Authority should have furnished the information in full, instead of
withholding part of it based on such a legally infirm order. So the respondent is directed to
provide all the information requested
Ref: AP.78/2006/SIC (No.2458/SIC-Gen 1/2006): Shri. P. Raveendran Pillai Vs.
Kerala Financial Corporation: Order dated 16 May 2007
Part of the information requested by the appellant was denied on the grounds that
Information against items (iv) to (viii) of the request were denied under section 8(e) and
8(j) of the Right to Information Act. According to the respondents, an employee has a
fiduciary relationship with the employer and there shall not be any obligation to provide a
citizen, information available to the Public Authority out of the fiduciary relationship unless
the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants disclosure of such
information. Secondly, property statements are personal information and hence exempted
from disclosure under section 8(j) of the Right to Information Act.
The Commission does not agree with the contention of the respondents that property
statement of an employee of a Public Authority is information available to the Public
Authority out of a fiduciary relationship. There cannot be an understanding between the
Public Authority and its employees, whether written or unwritten, that the details of the
property statement will be kept confidential. The Commission is also of the view that
property statement of employee of a Public Office is not personal information of the
employee. Employees of a Public Authority are public servants and the property
statements of a public servant cannot be deemed as personal information so long as the
employee is in the service of the Public Authority

Ref: AP.No.74/2006/SIC (File No.2230/SIC-G3/2006): Shri.K. Surendran Vs.


SC,ST and Backward Classes Development Department, Thiruvananthapuram,
Kerala: Order dated 17 May 2007
The Appellant in this case had made a request under Section 6 of the RTI Act to the State
Public Information Officer, SC, ST, and Backward Classes Development Department. The
request was for "copy of all the pages of the note file in file No.2245/G2/2005/SCSTDD".
The request was rejected by the PIO with the following remarks:- "The file notings include
the discussions of officers and their opinions. The Government has the privilege not to
disclose the contents of the file notings".
The remarks of the Appellate Authority was called for. The main contentions could be
reiterated as follows:- There was time bound disposal of the request and the first appeal.
The details of the file and its notings cannot be disclosed to an outside party because it
contains note files pertaining to the discussions and notings of officers. Para 3of the
remarks had highlighted the point that under S.8(1) (i) of the RTI Act, the cabinet papers
including records of deliberations of council of Ministers, Secretaries and Officers are
exempted from disclosure. Some of the papers were placed before the Council of Ministers
including the Former Chief Minister, and Minister for Revenue and Welfare of SC/ST
Community Department. It contained the opinion and consultation of Law Secretary and
Advocate General. The matter is not yet completely over. The question of giving the part
of the record as per Section 10(2) of the Act also does not arise.
The rejections were on three grounds:Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

19

Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

i.

That the appellant was a party outside the purview of the file

ii. It was a file on which cabinet action is sought and action is not over
iii. The deliberations of Cabinet Ministers and Secretaries are exempted under
Section 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act.
The first position that he is an out and out stranger to the proceedings
The RTI Act confers unfettered, unrestricted, and unlimited power on all citizens to
have the right to information. Section (3) of the Act makes no condition precedent to
claim information by way of right. It does not say that one should be connected with
the information requested. When the matter in question and information can be
sought, as it is held by the public authority, it need not be in any way necessary to
have some personal link, personal connection or a personal interest in the matter
requested for. In other words, every citizen is having the locus-standi to seek
information and no one can be turned down merely on the ground that he is not
having any locus-standi to the information sought for. Therefore, information that
was sought by the Appellant could not be withheld under the pretext that he is a
stranger to the information and not an interested party. The interest is public interest
and not personal interest. This ground of rejection both by the PIO and Appellate
Authority are on a wrong interpretation of the statute and the spirit of it.
Denying the file either under section 10(1) or under the proviso of Section 8(1)(i)
Section 10(1) of the RTI Act deals with and visualizes a situation were information is
already rejected on the ground that it is exempted from disclosure. In such cases,
the PIO or the Appellate Authority must be doubly careful and can provide access to
the information to that part of the record, which does not contain any information
that is exempted from disclosure under this Act. In other words, the exempted
portion remains well protected and insulated inside the information and all remaining
portions can be made available to the requester.
Subject to this restriction, information can be provided. Sub-section 2 of Section 10
deals with the procedural formalities in the case of partial disclosure of information.
Here in this case, deliberations of the cabinet was already over and discussions were
all over a decision has been taken and what was awaited was a central notification.
Perhaps those portion, which the Central Ministry was "expected" to scrutinize could
have been kept away from the requester. But for that portion of the file, access to
the entire file could not have been denied in the light of Sub-section (1) of Section
(10). Interestingly, it was submitted by the Appellant during the hearing that a copy
of the draft ordinance forwarded to the Government of India has been provided to
him by the Central Public Information Officer of the Central Government.
Denial of information under the exempted clause of Section 8(1)(i) cannot be held as
a correct interpretation. The PIO and the Appellate Authority were very vehement in
saying that the file includes noting of Officers, Govt. Secretaries, deliberations of the
Cabinet Ministers and also of Law Secretary and Advocate General. Of course, the
Cabinet papers include records of deliberations of council of Ministers, Secretaries
and other Officers and are privileged documents exempted from the purview of the
RTI Act 2005 under Section 8(1) (i). But it is not a permanently exempted document
because the Parliament has made it further clear with an elaborate proviso to this
section.
The proviso reads "provided that the decisions of the Council of Ministers, the
reasons there of and the materials on the basis of which the decisions were taken
shall be made public after the decisions has been taken and the matter is complete
or over". The decision had already been taken. The matter was complete and
everything was over. This proviso is the soul of RTI Act. It is transparency that is
indicated in this proviso. This is the most vital and sensitive position of the RTI Act.
An ordinary citizen is given access to the file notings, the deliberations of Ministers,
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Secretaries and such other high officials. Without this proviso this Act would not have
come into existence and the Act would not have accredited with so much of public
acclaim and enthusiasm. Therefore, so plain and unambiguous a proviso is there to
up-hold the case of the Appellant. By no means and by no stretch of imagination one
can reject the case of the Appellant.
Hence information be provided to the appellant
Ref: AP.No.156/2006/SIC (File No.3578/SIC-Gen/2006): Shri. Deepak. J. MVs.
Police Headquarters, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala: Order dated 22 June 2007
The appellants request for information was rejected by the PIO as the information
pertained to a third party, who objected to disclosing the information. After having
satisfied himself that the discloser of the information would adversely affect the interest of
the third party, he had rejected the application for information. The PIO was also aware of
the progress of an investigation and had resorted to clause ( h ) of Section 8 of the RTI Act
and had found that the disclosure of the information would impede the progress of an
investigation.
The information, even if it was a third party information, was a right, a civil right
ascertainable and the position can be usurped by the appellant in only one circumstance
where the same is out-witting and outweighing the personal interest in safe-guarding the
public interest. In other words, third party information could be disclosed in public interest
and, in the interest of the public at large in its importance.
Public interest and public importance are the only criteria to overlook and overshadow the
third party interest. In the present case, litigation after litigation between the two parties
is pending before competent courts. No public interest or public importance is involved in
this issue. The appellant had not attempted to bring about the prima facie case that the
third party information requested and agitated was of some public importance. So
information need not be provided.
Ref: AP.No.123/2006/SIC: Shri. Johnson Abraham vs. O/o the D.G. Police
Headquarters, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala: Order dated 22 June 2007
The appellants request for information was rejected by the PIO under Section 8(1) (h) of
the RTI Act, as the documents were highly confidential, and under Section 24 of the RTI
Act, which exempts intelligence and security organisations specified in the 2nd Schedule.
Under section of the RTI Act, Kerala Govt. has brought out a notification mentioned as GO
(P) 43/06 (GAD) dated 7.2.2006 exempting 8 organizations including Crime Branch CID,
from the purview of the RTI Act. All the documents mentioned by the appellant were held
by the CBCID, an organisation that need not provide any information, by virtue of the
notification made by the State Government under Section 24 of the RTI Act.
However, the Appellant disputed the confidentiality of the documents by arguing that the
Kerala Legislative Assembly and magazines like "India Today" and "Kerala Kaumudi" had
access to these confidential documents. The contentions of the Respondent was that as
far as the Police Department is concerned, these were still confidential reports and still
kept by the confidential section of the Police Head Quarters and enjoy immunity from
disclosure as provided under Section 24 of the RTI Act. Further, the Police Department or
any of its Branches did not make available the records or the file purported to have been
read or referred to in the Legislative Assembly. The requester ought to have made a
request before the PIO of the Home Department of Govt. of Kerala or before the PIO of the
Legislative Assembly instead of the PIO of PHQ.
The Commission, therefore, finds no ground to ask the respondent to part with this
information. In view of the total immunity granted to the CBCID in the Police Organisation,
as per the above-mentioned G.O and Section 24 of the Act, this the Commission finds that
the appellant is not entitled to access the documents from the Police Department, CBCID
Wing or from the PIO of the Police Headquarters. However, the Appellant is free to
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Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

approach the PIO of the Home Department or of the Legislative Assembly for obtaining the
documents required by him.

Maharashtra State Information Commission


Appeal No.2010/3815/02
Appeal No.2010/3816/02
Appeal No.2010/3851/02
The Hon High Court through various orders have held that copies of the question papers
need not be given. In fact section 8(1)(b) clearly says that there shall be no obligation to
give any information which has been forbidden to be published by any Court of Law.

Appeal No.2009/2592/02
Appeal No.2009/1926/02
It will be totally unfair to disclose names of examiner, question setter and place of
printing of the question paper. If all candidates start asking names of examiner place of
printing of the question papers and who set the question papers that would mean
collapse of the whole system. Also, it would not be desirable to disclosure the findings of
the examiner because the information has been given to the respondent in confidence.
Appeal No./ KR- 2545/08
The request for information related to the criteria adopted for allowing some candidates
to participate in the recruitment examination and disallowing others was denied by PIO
on the ground that as per the guidelines of the Honble High Court the recruitment
process being confidential, the information about the same cannot be given. The First
Appellate Authority has agreed with the decision of the Public Information Officer by
referring to Section 8 (1) (b) of the R.T.I. Act, 2005. The First Appellate Authority added
that without taking approval from High Court, this information cannot be given.
Appeal No.2006/406A/02 (Convicts right to privacy)
Hon. High Court which had given verdict in favour of supremacy of RTI Act over
regulations framed under the Indian Medical Council Act. Hon. High Court has given its
verdict in para 17 of their Judgment which is quoted as follows:
The law as discussed may now be set out. The confidentiality required to be maintained
of the medical records of a patient including a convict considering the Regulations
framed by the Medical Council of India cannot override the provisions of the Right to
Information Act. If there be inconsistency between the Regulations and the Right to
Information Act, the provisions of the Act would prevail over the Regulations and the
information will have to be made available in terms of the Act.
The Act, however, carves out some exceptions, including the release of personal
information, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest
or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the right to privacy. In such cases
discretion has been conferred on the concerned PIO to make available the information, if
satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure. This discretion must be
exercised, bearing in mind the facts of each case and the larger public interest.
Normally records of a person sentenced or convicted or remanded to police or judicial
custody, if during that period such person is admitted in hospital and nursing home,
should be made available to the person asking the information provided such hospital
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Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

nursing home is maintained by the State or Public Authority or any other Public Body. It
is only in rare and in exceptional cases and for good and valid reasons recorded in
writing can the information may be denied.
In those cases where the information sought cannot be denied to either Parliament or
State Legislature, as the case may be, then the information cannot be denied unless the
third person satisfies the authority that Parliament/Legislature, is not entitled to the
information. There is no discretion in such cases to be exercised by the concerned
Information Officer. The information has to be either granted or rejected, as the case
may be.
Every public authority, whose expenditure is met partly or wholly from the funds voted
by the Parliament/Legislature or Government funds are availed off is accountable to
Parliament/Legislature, as they have interest to know that the funds are spent for the
object for which they are released and the employees confirm to the Rules. The conduct
of the employees of such an organization subject to their statutory rights can also be
gone into. If patients are to be admitted in hospital for treatment then those employees
in the hospital are duty bound to admit only those who are eligible for admission and
medical treatment.
The records of such institution, therefore, ought to be available to Parliament or the
State Legislature. The Parliament/Legislature and/or its Committees are entitled to the
records even if they be confidential or personal records of a patient. Once a patient
admits himself to a hospital the records must be available to Parliament/Legislature
provided there is no legal bar. We find no legal bar, except the provisions of the
regulations framed under the Indian Medical Council Act. Those provisions, however,
would be inconsistent with the proviso to Section 8(1)(j) of the Right to Information Act.
The Right to Information Act would, therefore, prevail over the said regulations.
In one of its earlier decisions, the Commission had directed PIO to disclose information
(about hospitalization of a convict) mainly on the following counts:
1) Since there is feeling in the minds of people that highly placed people and people with
money power can spend their jail term not in the prison but in the hospital, public
interest will be better served if this information about hospitalisation is disclosed even
though this information is of a 3rd person and of a personal nature;
2) As per the proviso to section 8(1)(j) of the Act, Information which cannot be denied
to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. The
information about hospitalization, medication and discharge report of a patient in the
Government hospital, if required by the Legislature cannot be denied to them.

Appeal No.2010/4337/02
Every citizen has right to privacy and that includes public servants.
Appeal No.2008/1114/02
Appeal No.2008/1113/02
Appeal No.2008/1112/02
The appellant wanted details of the salary drawn by an individual employed with a public
authority. This information is personal and its disclosure has no relationship to any public
interest or activity. Hence, the information is rejected.
Appeal No.2009/3337/02
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Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

Whether the cause of death could be disclosed under the RTI Act - the reason behind
keeping the cause of death confidential is no longer valid. The RTI Act virtually
supersedes other acts and the only exceptions are information contained in section 8 & 9
of the RTI Act.
Appeal No.2009/3292/02
Appeal No.2009/2898/02 (Confidentiality)
The issue of confidentiality has undergone drastic change after the Act came into force.
Now Courts have ruled that / confidential report / evaluated answer sheets should be
shown to the candidate. In this area of transparency brought about by the RTI Act it has
to be presumed that whatever is not exempted should be disclosed.
Appeal no. 2006/557 /02
Though Section 8(1)(j) gives protection to the personal information, furnishing details
about remuneration of the staff members of a public authority does not get covered
under it. Section 41b(x) of the Act Stipulates that: 4. Obligation of public authority. (1)
Every public authority shall publish within one hundred and twenty days from the
enactment of this act the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and
employees including the systems of compensation as provided in its regulation. As per
the preamble the Act aims at promoting transparency and accountability in the working
of every public authority. If all the three provisions are read together it is clear that act
does not give protection from disclosure to the remuneration received by the employee.
In fact its disclosure is the prime requirement of the Act.
Appeal No.2007/1145/02
Appellant sought some information related to the candidates who had been short listed
and called for the interview for the post of lecturer in Chemistry (Open category) to the
PIO, MPSC u/s 6 of RTI Act, 2005. This information pertains to date of birth, marks
obtained in 10th, 12th, graduate level, P.G.level, whether NET and SET passed, research
paper published, experience, etc. Furnishing this information was denied stating that in
order to maintain the trustworthy relationship between the Commission and candidates,
disclosure of information is not possible u/s 8(1)(d), 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(j). MPSC receives
this information in fiduciary relationship. All these are definitely very cogent arguments.
Those could only be overruled if the applicant can give cogent reasoning that disclosure
of such information would be in the larger public interest. There is nothing in the appeal
memo to show how the larger public interest would be served by disclosing this
information except the general argument that it will lead to transparency. If it is decided
to reveal this information, since it pertains to third party, 51 candidates who were
qualified for interview will have to be asked about their concurrence or otherwise of
giving this information. This will also put MPSC some extra burden. All this goes against
the Appellants request.

Appeal No.877/2007
The commission has always held the view that whenever Govt. has ordered the inquiry
into any significant issue, its report should be available to the public as early as possible.
Such report need not be disclosed till Govt. examines the report. However there has to
be some time limit to such examination.
Appeal No.2008/2821/02

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Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

Disclosure of the documents / records pertaining to any subject matter pending before
High Court as well as Arbitral Tribunal may constitute contempt of the court. Hence,
these need not be furnished by the PIO. If applicant is still desirous of getting this
information, he may apply for the copies from the count or Arbitral Tribunal. After the
court proceedings are over, then papers could be revealed to the applicant.
Appeal No.2007/1751/02
Rule 19 of the Bombay High Court RTI rules 2006 is as follows:
Rule 19 The information/copy/ies/inspection with respect to the cases pending in
Court shall be obtained from the Court, as per Bombay High Court Rules and Orders in
force for the time being as applicable to the District Courts or as provided for in the Civil
or Criminal Manuals, as the case may be. The Commission finds that this rule
specifically deals with the cases pending in the High Court and the instructions to the
appellant to under these rules are in consonance with the provision of the Act.
Appeal No.2009/2286/02
Appeal No.2009/2571/02
Appeal No.2009/1799/02
Where the information is sought regarding cases still under investigation/charge sheets
have been filed in the court of law, such information can be denied under section 8 of
the Right to Information Act, 2005. The reason is such disclosure is likely to impede the
process of investigation and apprehension of the accused.
Appeal No.2008/612/02 (Info of judicial proceedings)
Information sought is in respect of judicial proceeding and the appellant has to obtain
the said information as per the procedure prescribed for obtaining certified copy by the
Bombay High Court Rules and orders. The RTI Act guarantees access to information
already available. It is not expected to provide redressal of citizens grievances. It does
not allow questions like why and how. In any case why a particular prayer has not been
considered by the Hon High Court cannot come within the purview of the RTI Act.
Appeal No.2009/1250/02 (Investigation under ACB)
Any matter under the investigation of ACB is not desirable to be furnished.

Appeal No.2007/1429/02
The 2nd request of the Appellant is regarding information of name and designation of the
person through whom the complaint was referred to Registrar (Legal) of High Court,
Bombay, name of the person who directed the complaint to Registrar (Legal), name of
the person who entered data upon the records pertaining to letters sent in the years
2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, name of the person attached to the office of the Chief
Justice who acknowledged receipt of the mail by EMS Speed Post and name and
designation of the person attached to the office of His Lordship Mr. Justice Rebello who
acknowledged receipt of the mail by EMS speed post of the copy of complaint dated 9th
March, 2005.
The Respondent has denied this information u/s 8(g) of the Act. The Commission feels
that such type of information need not be given due to the reasons stated u/s 8(g) of the
Act.
Appeal No.2008/1381/02
Appeal No.2008/1050/02
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Pros and Cons of Exemptions under Sections 8, 9 and 10

Appeal
Appeal
Appeal
Appeal
Appeal
Appeal
Appeal
Appeal
Appeal
Appeal
Appeal
Appeal

No.2008/1049/02
No.2008/1048/02
No.2008/1047/02
No.2008/1046/02
No.2009/3976/02
No.2010/4217/02
No.2009/2572/02
No.2008/916/02
No.2008/1051/02
No.2008/1052/02
No.2008/1053/02
No.2008/1054/02

The annual confidential reports have been traditionally confidential. There are
circumstances under which it is communicated to the person concerned. It remains
confidential otherwise. As far as the appellants case before the Tribunal is concerned,
there have been instances where the courts have called for these reports and evaluated
them and passed orders. Finally, giving copies of appellants annual confidential reports
has no element of public interest, it is purely personal. Under these circumstances
Commission is of the view that no public interest is likely to be served by furnishing
copies of appellants annual confidential reports to him.
In Appeal No.2009/2229/02, Commission further stated that: there are set
procedures if someone feels aggrieved by the report. The procedure is well known to any
govt. officers.
Orissa State Information Commission

Ref:
Second Appeal No. 70/2007, dated 07 August 2007, Shri Nigamananda Panda,
Cuttack vs. PIO, OPSC, Cuttack & First Appellate Authority, OPSC, Cuttack
Both the PIO and the First Appellate Authority of the Orissa Public Service Commission
(OPSC) denied the complainant of photocopies of evaluated papers of a candidate who
appeared in the Orissa Judicial Services examination. Therefore, the complainant made a
second appeal to the SIC. On hearing the case the SIC drawing reference from Section 22 and
Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act ordered the OPSC to provide the photocopies of the evaluated
papers free of cost because of delay.
Responding to OPSCs citing example of the Central Information Commission (CIC) denying
such information in a similar case, the SIC observed that the decisions of the CIC do not
apply to ICs of states/UTs as under the RTI Act all ICs stand at par with each other and there
is no Superior-Subordinate forum relationship.

Significant Decisions of Information Commissions

26