Advocate Ira Gupta & Dr KK Aggarwal
In the matter titled as “Public information Officer versus V. Chaudhary”, W.P.(C) 2025/2014, vide judgment dated 08.10.2018 the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has held that whether authentic information is available with another public authority is not a ground to deny the information sought from a public authority.
“19. In terms of the RTI Act, all information as available with the public authority is required to be provided to the citizen unless it is exempt from disclosure under Section 8 of the RTI Act or otherwise pertains to the organizations that are excluded from the purview of the RTI Act. Thus, the question whether authentic information is available with another public authority is not a ground to deny the information as sought from a public authority. In this case, the petitioner had sought the status of the properties against which complaints had been sent to MCD. It was his suggestion (although couched as a query) that even though police authorities inform MCD regarding unauthorized construction, they do not take steps to stop the same by accepting illegal gratification.
20. The petitioner had duly informed the respondent that a total number of 5313 forms had been sent to the concerned Municipal Corporation. However, the balance information was denied on the ground that it cannot be provided under Section 11 of the Act.
21. It is apparent from the above that the petitioner diad have the information as sought by the respondent. However, the same was denied to the respondent by referring Section 11 of the RTI Act. A plain reading of Section 11 of the RTI Act indicates that the same does not proscribe furnishing of information. In terms of Section 11(1) of the RTI Act, in cases where the public information officers (PIOs) intend to disclose the information, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by a third party, it would be necessary for the concerned PIO to give a written notice to the third party. The concerned third party has a right to make a submission either in writing or orally and the concerned PIO is required to keep the same in view while taking a decision regarding disclosure of such information. Thus, Section 11 of the RTI Act cannot be read as a provision proscribing disclosure of information; it is a provision to enable disclosure of third party information subject to certain safeguards. In this view, the decision of the CPIO denying the information by referring Section 11 of the RTI Act is wholly unsustainable.
22. The contention of the petitioner that the information as sought by the respondent was third party information, is also unpersuasive. The information as sought by the respondent pertains to unauthorized construction noticed by the police authorities, and in respect of which information had been forwarded to the concerned Municipal Corporation. Such information has neither been provided by any third party nor has been treated as confidential. Undisputedly, the information may relate to third parties inasmuch as it relates to the property of those third parties. However, the information as to unauthorized construction observed by the police authorities cannot be construed as one, which is to be kept confidential in terms of Section 11 of the RTI Act. Subject information that is sought by the respondent is gathered by the police authorities in discharge of their functions and this Court finds no infirmity with the decision of the CIC in directing that the same be provided to the respondent.”
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Immediate Past National President IMA