Hearing an appeal against the order passed by the Central Information Commission, the Delhi High Court has ruled that Name, designation and address of the members of the Selection Committee of UPSC cannot be provided under RTI Application.
Earlier, the Central Information Commission had accepted the plea of Dr. Mahesh Mangalat who had sought such information through a RTI Application.The Central Public Information Officer had refused to give such information stating, "The members of Selection Committee furnish their personal details to the UPSC in a fiduciary relationship with the expectation that this information would not be disclosed to others. Hence, disclosure of information held by UPSC in a fiduciary capacity is exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1) (e) of the RTI Act, 2005."
Thereafter, Dr. Mahesh Mangalat filed the first appeal which was not accepted. Accordingly, it was the second appeal that accepted by the Central Information Commission that ruled in his favour.
However, before the High Court, UPSC pleaded that Name, designation and address is barred from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (j) of the RTI Act and that it would also be a breach of privacy.
The respondents on the other hand submitted that, “Section 8 of the RTI Act, places an obligation on the CPIO and the appellate authority to weigh the competing interest protected under this section with the "larger public interest".” And “(UPSC) a constitutional body established under Article 315 of the Constitution of India for the purpose of recruiting persons for government posts and is not a commercial organization, and is therefore not entitled to claim exemption under Section 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act.”
However, The High Court, relying on Kameshwar Prasad v. State of Bihar AIR 1962 SC 1166 and Bihar Public Service Commission v. Saiyed Hussain Abbas Rizwi & Anr. 2012 (12) SCALE 525 accepted the appeal filed by UPSC and ordered, “In view of the dictum of the Apex Court in 'Bihar Public Service Commission' (supra) this court is conscious of the fact that the disclosure of such information may endanger the physical safety of an examiner/interviewer who under an apprehension of danger to his life may not be able to effectively discharge his duties. Further, such a disclosure could seriously affect the secrecy and confidentiality of the selection process.”
Read the Judgment here.