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Disclosure Of Interest In Information Being Sought Under RTI Act Necessary To Establish Applicant's Bonafide: Delhi High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
17 Jan 2021 11:15 AM GMT
Disclosure Of Interest In Information Being Sought Under RTI Act Necessary To Establish Applicants Bonafide: Delhi High Court
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"Whenever 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.”: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday (12th January) observed that whenever information is sought under the 'Right To Information Act, 2005', the disclosure of applicant's interest in the information being sought would be necessary to establish his/her bonafides. The Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh specifically observed, "This Court is of the opinion that whenever information is...

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The Delhi High Court on Tuesday (12th January) observed that whenever information is sought under the 'Right To Information Act, 2005', the disclosure of applicant's interest in the information being sought would be necessary to establish his/her bonafides.

The Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh specifically observed,

"This Court is of the opinion that whenever 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."

[NOTE: Section 6 (2) of The Right To Information Act, 2005 states that "an applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him".]

The matter before the Court

The Court was hearing a plea by one Har Kishan, who was seeking information with regard to appointments made for the Multi-tasking Staff of the Presidential Estate, Rashtrapati Bhawan.

The Petitioner's daughter had also applied for the said post, however, this fact didn't find any mention in the writ petition and only when a query was put forth by the Court, the Petitioner revealed this fact to the Court.

The information with respect to the notification [of MTS (Multi-Tasking Staff) examination], total number of candidates who appeared in the said examination etc was provided to the petitioner, however, information relating to residential address, and father's names of all selected candidates was refused by the CIC.

Arguments put forth

The Petitioner's Counsel contended that no reasons were given for rejection of information relating to residential address and father's names of all selected candidates was refused by the CIC. He submitted that the said information ought to have been provided by the Respondents.

On the other hand, the Counsel appearing for President Secretariat submitted that the information sought is extremely wide and, in fact invades the privacy of the persons who have been appointed as Multi-Tasking Staff.

Court's observations

Noting that plea was cleverly quiet about the fact that the Petitioner's daughter had applied for being considered for appointment for the said post, the Court said,

"Non-disclosure of the same could result in injustice to several other affected persons, whose information is sought."

"The seeking of the above information, especially after the Petitioner's daughter did not obtain employment, clearly points to some ulterior motives," the Court further remarked.

Even otherwise, the Court observed that on merits, 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 noted,

"The said information which is sought is clearly protected under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act which provides that any such information shall not be provided which constitutes personal information and is invasive of the privacy of individuals."

Lastly, for the act of the Petitioner having concealed the material facts including that his daughter had applied for appointment to the post of Multitasking Staff, the petition was dismissed with costs of Rs.25,000/- to be paid to the 'High Court of Delhi (Middle Income Group) legal Aid Society'.

Case title - Har Kishan v. President Secretariat & Anr. [W.P.(C) 7976/2020]

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