CIC refuses to interfere with cases similar to sub judice matters

Central Information Commission (CIC): The appellant had approached the Chief Public Information Officer (“CPIO”) at the University of Delhi, asking for details regarding B.A. results for the year of 1988, which was denied under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005 (“the Act”), which reads:

8. Exemption from disclosure of information- (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen-

(a)-(i) …                                     *                                            *                                       *

(j) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information:”

The CPIO informed the appellant that the results were private information of respective students and could only be accessed by individual students on request. The disclosure of the same shall serve no public interest hence the requested information could not be provided. The First Appellate Authority upheld the CPIO’s reply.

Before the  CIC, the appellant contended that the Supreme Court, in Mairembam Prithviraj v. Pukhrem Sharat Chandra Singh, (2017) 2 SCC 487, had held that citizens have the right to know the veracity of claims made by elected representatives about their educational qualifications. The CIC itself, in Subhash Chandra Tyagi v. CBSE,  2016 SCC OnLine CIC 11442 had held that where there is a doubt regarding the validity of a qualification, it is necessary to verify the same.

The respondent referred to a judgement by the CIC in Neeraj v. Delhi University, 2016 SCC OnLine CIC 19979 where the Delhi University was directed to furnish information about students; results for B.A. batch of 1978, but the same was stayed by the Delhi High Court in Writ Petition No. 600/2017. It was submitted that since this matter, being similar to the case at hand was pending adjudication, the CIC should refrain from intervening in the matter.

The CIC took note of the fact that its decision in a similar matter had been stayed by the High Court and found it not prudent to interfere at the moment. Hence the appeal as disposed of with liberty to approach the CIC again following the pronouncement of judgment by the Delhi High Court in WP No. 600/2017. [Neeraj Sharma v. CPIO, University of Delhi, Appeal No. CIC/UODEL/A/2017/124882-BJ, decided on 28.05.2018]

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