29 Aug 2023 2:43 PM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has set aside an order passed by the State Information Commissioner rejecting an application filed by a college professor seeking service record details of his colleague. A single bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit allowed the petition filed by A S Mallikarjunaswamy and set aside the of Commission whereby his RTI application had been negatived quoting the provisions...
The Karnataka High Court has set aside an order passed by the State Information Commissioner rejecting an application filed by a college professor seeking service record details of his colleague.
A single bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit allowed the petition filed by A S Mallikarjunaswamy and set aside the of Commission whereby his RTI application had been negatived quoting the provisions of Section 8(1)(j) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
Section 8 (1)(j) reads thus: Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen—(j) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.
The court said,
“There is no scope for invocation of Sec.8(1)(j) since petitioner is not a stranger to the Respondent institution, but a Lecturer working therein since years; it hardly needs to be stated that for working out redressal for the grievances in service, an employee has to have full service particulars of other employees working under the same employer especially when dispute arises relating to confirmation, seniority, promotion or the like.”
The petitioner had argued that he is entitled to know the material particulars of service of the persons indicated in the RTI Application inasmuch as that information provides the substratum for structuring his claims in Service Law such as confirmation, seniority, promotion & the like.
Agreeing to the petitioner's contention, the bench said, “The petitioner, a party-in-person is justified in contending that unless the service particulars of the persons which he has sought for in the subject RTI application are furnished, he will not be in a position to work out his grievance in the subject service matter.”
Further the court said the petitioner was justified in placing reliance on the Government Order dated 02.06.2011 which prescribes certain parameters for granting relaxation of service conditions relating to reservation.
It said, “To avail benefit under the said Government Order, the information which the petitioner has sought for, becomes essential. Denying information virtually amounts to denying opportunity to the petitioner to avail the benefit of said Government Order.”
Accordingly, it allowed the petition and directed the Principal Marimallapas PU College, Mysuru to furnish service particulars of the persons concerned and copies of records in that connection within a period of three weeks, failing which for the delay of each day, the respondent shall pay from his pocket a sum of Rs.1,000 to the petitioner. The Principal shall also pay a cost of Rs.5,000, towards expenses.
Case Title: A S MALLIKARJUNASWAMY, AND STATE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER & others.
Case No: WRIT PETITION NO. 23695 OF 2022
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 332
Date of Order: 22-08-2023
Appearance: A S Mallikarjunaswamy—PARTY IN PERSON
Advocate Sharath Gowda G B for R1.
HCGP Kiran Kumar for R2 to R4.