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Employee's Performance Is "Personal Information" Exempted U/S 8(1)(j) RTI Act: J&K&L High Court

Basit Amin Makhdoomi
7 Nov 2022 4:39 AM GMT
Employees Performance Is Personal Information Exempted U/S 8(1)(j) RTI Act: J&K&L High Court
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The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court on Saturday reiterated that the "performance of an employee or an officer in an organisation is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and falls within the meaning of personal information."

The observations were made by a bench comprising Justices Tashi Rabstan and Sindhu Sharma on a plea filed by the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) challenging Central Information Commissioner's direction to its Public Information Officer to furnish the "complete and truthful information point-wise" to an applicant under RTI.

The facts of the instant matter were that the applicant had sought copies of all the complaints filed against one of the organization's employees. While the Public Information Officer of KVS on 1 March 2014 declined to provide the information on the ground that the information sought for qualifies as "personal information" within the meaning of provisions of Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, the applicant preferred appeals, which came to be allowed by the Central Information Commission on 14 February 2017. It was this order which was challenged by the petitioner organisation before the bench.

After hearing the parties, the court responded in affirmative and maintained that the information sought for by the RTI applicant under the Right to Information Act, 2005 qualifies as personal information within the meaning of provisions of Section 8(1)(j) of the Act.

"After going through the file and the relevant clause of Right to Information Act, we are in agreement that the information sought for by the respondent (RTI applicant) falls under the expression personal information and the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest, rather it would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual," the Court said.

The performance of an employee or an officer in an organisation, the court said, is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer.

"Normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression "personal information", the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest," the court said, adding, "On the other hand, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual."

Buttressing the said position of law the bench found it worthwhile to record the observations of Supreme Court in Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs Central Information Commr., 2013 wherein it was observed,

"The performance of an employee/officer in an organization is primarily a matter between the employee and the employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules which fall under the expression "personal information", the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or public interest. On the other hand, the disclosure of which would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of that individual".

Finding force in the petition the bench allowed the petition and the order/judgment passed by the Central Information Commission, New Delhi was set aside.

Case Title : Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan & Ors Vs Central Information Commission

Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (JKL) 207

Click Here To Read/Download Order




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