Tuesday, July 18, 2017

‘Personal info may be disclosed only in larger public interest’

Assam Tribune: Guwahati: Tuesday, July 18, 2017.
The State Information Commission has noted that personal information, which are exempted under Section 8(1)(j) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, or third party information, may be disclosed by the SPIOs only if larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information, or if the public interest outweighs any possible harm or injury to the interests of the third party.
This observation of the State Information Commission came in the wake of an RTI petition filed by Utpal Das. However, the State Information Commission has noted that the petitioner did not request for copies of those documents, but only the names and addresses of all the brides/bridegrooms and sellers and purchasers of land. The marriage certificates and land sale deeds are personal information of the contracting parties, besides being third party information so far as the petitioner is concerned.
In view of the RTI request by the petitioner for the names and addresses only, the Commission has directed the Senior Sub-Registrar, Kamrup Metro, to allow the petitioner to inspect relevant records for perusing only the names and addresses of the brides/bridegrooms and sellers/purchasers of land for the period sought for by the petitioner during o ffice hours on a working day within 15 days from the date of receipt of the order and allow him to note down such names and addresses as he may like to.
Since the periods mentioned by the petitioner in his RTI petition are long and the volume of information is big, the compilation of the information from old records is likely to disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority and hence the requirement of any such compilation is dispensed with. If, however, the petitioner wants certified copies of any particular marriage or land sale deed, then the SPIO will deal with such request with reference to Section 8(1)(j) and Section 11 of the RTI Act, 2005.
As regards the RTI petition relating to the names and addresses of the wives and husbands who got divorce certificates during the period 2006 to 2016, the Senior Sub-Registrar, Kamrup (Metro) is directed to transfer within five days the portion of the RTI petition from the date of receipt of the order, to the SPIO of the Family Court, Guwahati. The SPIO of the Family Court is directed to dispose of the RTI petition if he receives any, in compliance with the relevant provisions of the RTI Act, 2005, and the Gauhati High Court (Right to Information) Rules, 2008 within the stipulated time, according to an official press release.