The Delhi High Court today clarified that whenever “personal information” is sought under the Right to Information Act, disclosure of interest in the information sought is necessary (Hari Kishan v. President Secretariat).
Justice Prathiba M Singh issued a clarification to this effect after noting that a judgment passed on January 12 was being “wrongly interpreted”.
The Court stated that paragraph 12 of the order would read as follows:
” .. Court is of the opinion that whenever personal information is sought under the RTI Act, disclosure of an interest in the information sought would be necessary to establish the bonafides of the applicant.”
The paragraph originally read that whenever information is sought under RTI Act, disclosure of interest in the information sought was necessary.
The petitioner before the Court had sought information under the RTI Act in respect of appointments made for Multitasking Staff at the Presidential Estate, Rashtrapati Bhawan.
While information with respect to the notification, total number of candidates, examination centre etc was provided to the petitioner, information with respect to personal details of all selected candidates was refused by Central Information Commission (CIC).
The personal details included residential addresses and the father’s names of the selected candidates.
While deciding the matter, the Court noted that the petitioner’s daughter had also applied for appointment to the Multi-Tasking Staff at Rashtrapati Bhawan but this fact was not mentioned in the writ petition.
The Court ultimately opined that the information sought in respect of the names of the fathers and residential addresses of the candidates was completely invasive, and would be a roving and fishing enquiry.
The Court explained that the information sought was clearly protected under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, which provided that any such information which constitutes personal information is invasive of the privacy of individuals.
Finding no merit in the petition, the Court proceeded to dismiss it. Costs of Rs. 25,000 were also imposed on the petitioner for concealing material facts.