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Delhi High Court clarifies: Disclosure of interest in RTI required only when application seeks personal info

The court had on January 12 observed that the disclosure of interest regarding information being sought under RTI law would be necessary to establish the bonafides of an applicant.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
January 30, 2021 3:46:57 am
Delhi High Court, right to privacy, Prashant Bhushan, surveillance projects, Centralized Monitoring System, National Intelligence Grid, indian express newsThe government said there is no blanket permission to any agency for interception or monitoring or decryption.

The Delhi High Court Friday clarified its recent observation regarding the necessity for disclosure of interest by an applicant about the information being sought under the RTI Act, and said that it only pertained to the seeking of personal information under the law.

The court had on January 12 observed that the disclosure of interest regarding information being sought under RTI law would be necessary to establish the bonafides of an applicant. The order had come under criticism, with many pointing out that it contradicts the Section 6(2) of the RTI Act which 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”.

Justice Prathiba M Singh on Friday said there has been an “inadvertent omission” in the earlier order and clarified that whenever “personal information” is sought, the disclosure of interest is important.

“This court is of the opinion that whenever personal information is sought under the RTI Act, the disclosure of an interest in the personal information sought would be necessary to establish bona fides of the applicant,” said the court, while adding “personal” to the particular line in the January 12 order.

The court also observed that its earlier order was “completely wrongly interpreted”. It added that the order pertains only to an applicant who was seeking the names of fathers and addresses of people in his RTI query.

The court had made the earlier observation while dealing with a petition about an RTI application seeking information with regard to appointments made for multi-tasking staff of the Presidential Estate, Rashtrapati Bhawan. While dismissing the petition, the court on January 12 imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the petitioner for concealing the fact that his daughter had also applied for the post. It said this fact does not find mention in the petition and further noted that perusal of the writ petition also shows that the petitioner himself was earlier working in the Presidential Estate on an ad-hoc basis from 2012 to 2017.

The applicant had earlier sought information pertaining to the residential address and father’s name of selected candidates and it was denied to him on the ground of it being personal information. He had however been provided other information sought by him.

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