Information under RTI Act can be provided to third party, CIC tells police
As posted by Jasneet Bindra at indianexpress.com on Feb 03, 2010
Chandigarh : Punjab Chief Information Commissioner R I Singh has asked the police to provide an RTI applicant a copy of the inquiry report into a land deal, in which a woman allegedly sold part of a public street through a registered deed. Dismissing the police plea that this was third party information as the complainant was not a party to the case, Singh said, “The information is of public interest, as it has been alleged that an individual has fraudulently sold public land. Police have conducted an inquiry and papers related to it are public documents.”
Ludhiana resident Mehar Chand had sought copies of the report of the inquiry conducted by the Economic Offences Wing of the police. The appellant alleged that Sawaranjit Kaur had fraudulently transferred a part of the public street by a registered deed in favour of Harvinder Singh.
Ludhiana SSP (the PIO) and IGP, Zonal-II, Jalandhar (the first appellate authority) were respondents in the case.
Kaur had earlier entered into an agreement with Jaswant Singh for sale of the property, but when he realised that she did not own the land, he withdrew. Alleging fraud, Jaswant submitted an application to the SSP, Ludhiana, and an inquiry was conducted by the EO Wing.
Mehar Chand said public interest was involved in this case and police inquiry has established fraud in the deal.
The respondent, on the other hand, took the plea that Mehar Chand was a third party as he was neither the complainant before the police nor the disputed property’s owner.
The CIC said Section 11 of the RTI Act requires a PIO to give a written notice to the third party and invite submission asking whether information should be disclosed. “If public interest is involved, which outweighs the interest of third party, information must be disclosed. The criterion is of public interest,” Singh said.
“There is nothing confidential about either the complainant made by Jaswant Singh or the conduct of Sawaranjit Kaur for which information should be withheld,” the CIC said