The State Information Commission has disposed a case wherein the information seeker had sought personal information of employees from the Public Information Officer.
The appellant had filed the 2nd appeal before the StateInformation Commission (SIC) against the First Appellate Authority (FAA) andPublic Information Officer (PIO) Drug and Food Control Organisation, Srinagar.The appeal has been filed on the grounds that the PIO has failed to submit theinformation stating "the information sought cannot be provided as it relates tothe personal information, the disclosure of which has no relationship to anypublic activity or interest and would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacyof the individual."
On being denied the information, the information seekerfiled the first appeal before the FAA, but he again failed to decide theappeal.
The appellant approached the commission, at last, and askedthe commission to direct the PIO Drug and Food Control organisation, Srinagarto provide him the information.
The commission asked the appellant to specify the names ofthe employees whose information he requires "so that the PIO can provide theInformation within the permissible limits under the provisions of the J&KRight to Information Act," the order reads.
The appellant, while responding to the order of thecommission, had specified names of six employees – Irfana (Assistant DrugController), Imtiyaz (Drug Inspector), Waseem (Drug Inspector), Younis (ACRWholesale) and Parvaiz.
But the PIO while answering the questions of the appellanthad said, "This division doesn't have any Assistant Drug Controller as Irfana,this division has many Imtiyaz who are working as Drug Inspector, so pleasespecify complete name."
The PIO further states, "This division has many Shahnawazwho are working as Drug Inspector, so please specify complete name, thedesignation of Younis is not ACR Wholesale, Parvaiz has already attainedsuperannuation and retired from the department."
The appellant has sought photocopies of service book of allemployees of Drug & Food Control Department, the information as to how muchproperty are in the names of the said employees and their family members,copies of tax deduction certificates from last ten years, copies of transfer ordersand copies of their qualification certificates.
State Information Commissioner, M Ashraf Mir, whiledisposing of the case, has stated, "The expression 'information' has beeninterpreted and deciphered by the Supreme Court and various other High Courtsand also by the Central Information Commission in numerous judgments includingCBSE & Anr. Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay &Ors (SC)", "KhanapuramGandhia Vs. Administrative Officer (SC), Dr. Celsa Pinto Vs. Goa StateInformation Commission (Bombay HC) and Subrata Guha Ray Vs. CPIO (CIC), to namea few, where it has been held that all and sundry information cannot be askedfor by an applicant under the RTI Act."
Moreover, the order issued by the commissioner reads, "Inthe case of Girish Ramchandra Despande Vs CIC & Others [SLP (Civil) No.27734 of 2012], the Supreme Court has further held that the informationrelating to tax deduction details, assets and liabilities, moveable andimmoveable properties, performance of employees, leave details and transferdetails are personal information and matters primarily between the employee andthe employer and normally those aspects are governed by the service rules whichfall under the expression "personal information."
The Supreme Court has further held that, "disclosure of suchinformation has no relation with any public activity or public interest and onthe other hand, the disclosure of such information would cause unwarrantedinvasion of privacy of the concerned employees."
In view of the settled position of law, "the informationsought by the appellant through his RTI application dated 16-10-2018 cannot beprovided by the PIO as the same amounts to personal information of theconcerned employees. Therefore, there is no merit in the appeal and the same isaccordingly disposed of without any order or direction," the order states.