The Central Information Commission ruled that the outstretching interpretation of Section 2(f) of RTI Act to include deductions and inferences to be drawn by the CPIO is unwarranted as it casts immense pressure on the CPIOs.
The Appellant at the outset narrated at length his grievance with the FSI regarding his service matter for recovery of Rs. 7 lakhs as also wrong deduction of his 7 months’ EL and consequent treating of one and a half years as “Dies non”.
The appellant contested that he needed the biometric records of other colleagues who had served with him to validate his own attendance period.
Thus, such circumstances led him to the filing of instant RTI Applications; however, he is aggrieved by the denial of bio-metric attendance records by the CPIO.
He also harped on the delay aspect caused by the CPIO in giving final reply for which he prayed the Commission to penalize the CPIO under Section 20 of the RTI Act.
The CPIO apprised the Commission that the Appellant is a habitual RTI Applicant who filed as many as 22 RTI Applications seeking similar information just to harass the Respondent Public Authority.
The Commission counseled the Appellant that the queries raised by the Appellant in the instant RTI Application do not fall under the ambit of information per se in terms of Section 2(f) of RTI Act and also it is undisputed fact that the biometric attendance records of all the employees impinges on their privacy and thus, is hit by Section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act; to that extent denial of such information by the CPIO was appropriate.
The bench of information commissioner Saroj Punhani observed that the information sought by the Appellant majorly do not conform to Section 2(f) of RTI Act and also contains the elements of personal information including biometric records of concerned employees which is hit by Section 8 (1)(j) of RTI Act.
The commission said that outstretching the interpretation of Section 2(f) of the RTI Act to include deductions and inferences to be drawn by the CPIO is unwarranted as it casts immense pressure on the CPIOs to ensure that they provide the correct deduction/inference to avoid being subject to penal provisions under the RTI Act.
The commission directed the CPIO to provide the bio-metric attendance records of the Appellant only without divulging the personal details of third parties which stands exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1)(j) of RTI Act.
Case title: Kumar Kalbande v/s CPIO
Citation: CIC/FSOID/A/2022/628269 + CIC/FSOID/A/2022/628728