<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=4 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD class=articleheader>Sex secrets to stay under sheets: RTI
</TD></TR><TR><TD class=articleauthor>CHARU SUDAN KASTURI </TD></TR><TR><TD class=story align=left><TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=4 width=172 align=left border=0><TBODY><TR><TD></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
New Delhi, Sept. 17: The Central Information Commission has spelt out what most of India has been anticipating — questions pertaining to the sexual life of government officers will not be entertained under the country’s transparency law.
In the absence of any official definition of “invasion of privacy”, the information panel has decided to adopt sections of a British law as a “reference point” to help define the concept.
It said “sensitive personal data” --- as defined in the UK Data Protection Act --- need not be made available to the public under the Right to Information Act.
However, government officials who have been at the receiving end of “personally vindictive” RTI applications said the definition adopted by the information panel would do little to guard against public trespass into private lives.
Apart from sexual life, Section 2 of the UK law also declares ethnic or racial origin, political opinions, religious belief as well as physical and mental health as sensitive information that need not be disclosed.
Panel officials said appellants would not be able to ask an official “whether he is a member of a trade union” or whether he faced any criminal case.
But information such as details of family trips undertaken with personal funds would remain under public scrutiny, they added.
“Cases where the officer complains of invasion of privacy will continue to be taken up on a case-by-case basis. But we see no reason for details of trips made by government officials to be summarily made exempt from the RTI,” an official said.
A government scientist, who has faced queries on his foreign trips, called the panel’s decision “laughable”.
“If I spend my own money, how is it anyone’s concern? The CIC decision is laughable. They should be focusing on genuine issues where privacy can be, and is violated, using the RTI,” he said.
The Telegraph - Calcutta : Nation