Information on visa details of foreigner can be disclosed: CIC

New Delhi, June. 13 (PTI): The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that documents furnished by a foreigner for obtaining visa cannot be exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act.

"I hold that the information furnished by a foreigner for the grant of visa, or any other activity, connected with the grant of visa will have to be made public if a citizen seeks that information under the RTI Act," Information Commissioner A N Tiwari said in a recent decision.

The ruling came after an application was filed by Mumbai resident K R S Narayanan seeking details of immigration and issuance of visa to one Jane Elizabeth Cox, a British national who later married an Indian.

Terming the issuance of visa as a "public activity", the CIC while acting on Narayanan's application has asked Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to provide him the information on Cox's visa and immigration details within four weeks.

Rejecting MHA's contention that the information asked for was "personal and private", the Commission said furnishing the documents to the government brings them under the public purview.

"Since there is a linear relationship between the furnishing of information by an applicant for visa and the grant of visa to her/him and, grant or denial of visa being a public activity, the information connected with that should be assumed to be in public domain," the Commission observed. An RTI application was filed with the Deputy Secretary (Foreigners) of Home Ministry on July 30 last year.

The Hindu News Update Service