RTI itself is a regime of transparency. RTI Act has no provision that the name and address or personal information of an RTI Applicant is required to be protected from public disclosure. The Act only says that an applicant need not give any reason or personal details for seeking information from a public authority. Once the application is made and details are given voluntarily by the applicant, that cannot be said to be protected from disclosure under any of the exemption provisions of the Act. The proceedings under the transparency law must be transparent and known to all, else the very purpose of RTI Act shall stand defeated.
Kalkota High Court in WP No. 33290 decided on 20.11.2013 held as under:
A mere reading of the directives issued on 20-11-2013 by the Hon'ble Calcutta High Court in WP 33290 would reveal that the directives to maintain secrecy is with respect to the personal details obtained by the public authority, in such cases, where the Applicant used Post Box or hidden his address, but the department subsequently obtained the details from him.
"In case, the authority would find any difficulty with the post box number, they may insist upon personal details. However, in such case, it would be the solemn duty of the authority to hide such information and particularly from their website so that people at large would not know of the details."
Thus the force of the Calcutta High Court judgment applies only in respect of those applicants who have hidden their address or personal details, and which the department obtained subsequently. It has no universal application to other applications / applicants who have clearly mentioned and disclosed their addresses or personal details in RTI Application itself.
Satyameva Jayate सत्यमेव जयते