First Appellate Authority, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI): Santosh Kumar Shukla, First Appellate Authority, observed that the name and designation of Officers of IBBI as requested is exempted under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.
The appellant had filed the present appeal challenging the communication of the respondent regarding his RTI Application filed under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act).
On perusal of the RTI Application, the appellant had requested certain information regarding the NCLT Order, Mumbai.
Further, the respondent had provided information on certain points and claimed exemption under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act on points (b), (d) and (e). Aggrieved by the same, the appellant had filed the present appeal challenging the exemption taken by the respondent.
Analysis and Decision
The Bench stated that if the public authority holds any information in the form of data, statistics, abstracts, etc. an applicant can have access to the same under the RTI Act subject to exemptions under Section 8.
It was noted that the respondent did not give any reason or justification for invoking Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.
Section 8(1)(j) exempts 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 a larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.
Further, the Appellate Authority expressed that it deems it fit to deal with the request on merits in the interests of the right to information and scope of information disclosures under the RTI Act.
Appellant’s first contention was that the disclosure of the name and designation of the person who uploaded the order/Form A was not exempted under Section 8(1)(j).
With regard to the above, Authority observed that, if the information sought for is personal and has no relationship with any public activity or interest or it will not sub-serve larger public interest, the respondent is not legally obliged to provide that information.
Bench held that the name and designation of Officers of IBBI as requested is exempted under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. Further, the appellate authority was not satisfied with how a larger public interest was involved.
In the opinion of the Appellate Authority, the respondent was not bound to respond to such inquisitions under the RTI Act.
With respect to the above, the decision which was referred was, Dr D.V. Rao v. Yashwant Singh, wherein it was observed that:
“the RTI Act does not cast on the public authority any obligation to answer queries in which a petitioner attempts to elicit answers to his questions with prefixes, such as, ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘whether’. The petitioner’s right extends only to seeking information as defined in section 2 (f) either by pinpointing the file, document, paper or record, etc., or by mentioning the type of information as may be available with the specified public authority.”
In view of the above, the appeal was disposed of. [Ishrat Ali v. CPIO, IBBI; decided on 17-5-2022]