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'Remove RTI Petitioners' Details From Public Domain': Housing Ministry Directs All CPIOs, After Saket Gokhale's Notice

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
9 Dec 2020 1:22 PM GMT
Remove RTI Petitioners Details From Public Domain: Housing Ministry Directs All CPIOs, After Saket Gokhales Notice
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The Union Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (Housing Ministry) has directed all the Central Public Information Officers and Appellate Authorities under the Right to Information Act, to remove the personal details of RTI Applicants from the Ministry's website."All CPIOs/ Appellate authorities are requested to immediately get the Applicant details removed from the RTI replies uploaded on...

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The Union Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (Housing Ministry) has directed all the Central Public Information Officers and Appellate Authorities under the Right to Information Act, to remove the personal details of RTI Applicants from the Ministry's website.

"All CPIOs/ Appellate authorities are requested to immediately get the Applicant details removed from the RTI replies uploaded on the Ministry's Website and in future also to refrain from disclosing the personal details of the Applicants/Appellants including Name, Address, Designation, email id, and Telephone number, mobile Number while getting the RTI replies uploaded in the Ministry's website," the Ministry ordered on Tuesday.

'This may be accorded 'Top Priority',' it added.

The development comes in response to a representation made by activist Saket Gokhale, stating that the "glaring and shocking negligence" of the Ministry in publishing the personal details of RTI applicants on its website has resulted in massive violation of their Right to Privacy.

He pointed out that in the matter of Avishek Goenka v. Union of India, the Calcutta High Court had directed that personal details of RTI applicants shall NOT be disclosed if it doesn't serve any public interest.

Further, in Saket S Gokhale v. Union of India, the Bombay High Court had directed the Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, to conduct a time- bound probe in the matter of disclosing personal information of RTI applicants on its website.

Personal Info Of More Than 4000 RTI Applicants Displayed On Official Website: Bombay High Court Pulls Up I&B Ministry

Similarly, two Office Memorandums have been issued by the Department of Personnel and Training, directing that personal details of RTI applicants including name, address, designation, email id, and telephone number shall NOT be disclosed as they do not serve any public interest.

In gross violation and contempt of these directions, Gokhale said, "personal details of RTI applicants including their names, addresses, phone numbers etc can be publicly accessed through a Google Search."

He provided a link whereby the details of at least 206 files of RTI responses are publicly available, including the personal details of applicants. He therefore urged the Ministry to immediately redact such files and institute an enquiry into this massive lapse, and take appropriate action against the officials responsible.

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