Ms. Asha Rani vs Lok Sabha Secretariat on 21 April, 2009

Central Information Commission
Ms. Asha Rani vs Lok Sabha Secretariat on 21 April, 2009
                        CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
                          Appeal No.CIC/WB/A/2007/01689 dated 13.12.2007
                             Right to Information Act 2005 - Section 19


Appellant       -          Ms. Asha Rani
Respondent          -      Lok Sabha Secretariat


Facts

:

By an application of 15.10.07 Ms. Asha Rani of R. K. Puram, New Delhi
applied to the Rajya Sabha Sectt. seeking the following information:

“1. List of finally selected candidates with marks obtained by
them separately in written exam Physical Test and Interview.

2. List of unqualified/ failed candidates after Interview with
marks obtained by them in written Exam, Physical and
Interview.

3. Photocopy of list of marks given by the panel, which
conducted the field test having signature of panel members.

4. Photocopy of list of marks given by the interview panel that
conducted the interview having signature of panel members.

5. Were the vacancies of General Category in Lok Sabha was
published in news paper if so please provide the information
related to it.”

CPIO, Sh. Deepak Goyal, Director, Rajya Sabha Sectt transferred this
application. to the Lok Sabha Sectt. on 16.10.07, informing the appellant Smt.
Asha Rani accordingly. Shri Harish Chander, Dy. Secretary (II) Information Cell,
Lok Sabha Sectt. replied to the application on 8.11.07 as follows:

“As regards the information sought in point Nos. 1 to 4, these
cannot be given to the applicant, as larger public interest does not
warrant the disclosure of the requisite information. Moreover, the
applicant by demanding so seeks to enter into the process of
evaluation. If such requests are acceded to, it could lead to gross
and indefinite uncertainty in the system, besides resulting in utter
confusion on account of enormity of labour and the time involved in
the process. The identity of the panel members cannot be
disclosed under section 8 (1) (e) of the Right to Information Act,
2005.

Regarding point no.5

1
The vacancies in General Category for Security Assistant, Grade-II
in Lok Sabha Secretariat were not published in the newspapers.
However, the vacancy position was later revised to include General
category as well. In the advertisement published in the
newspapers there was a clarification/ note that ‘Where specific
category has been prescribed for vacancies in any post, there are
chances of vacancies occurring in other categories in future.
Candidates belonging to other categories are also advised to
apply.” This makes it clear that vacancies once published are
subject to change.”

Aggrieved Ms. Asha Rani moved a first appeal before Shri S. K. Sharma,
Addl. Secretary, Lok Sabha Sectt. pleading that, “The applicant felt that
information provided to me is false, concealing factual position and arbitrary and
does not reflect the correct information sought by me. The undersigned
preferred an appeal to the First Appellate Authority under Section 19 of the RTI
Act, 2005.” Upon this Shri S. K. Sharma in his order dated 5.12.07 dismissed the
appeal as follows:

“I find that the information that is permissible under the provisions
of the RTI Act, 2005 and held by the Secretariat has already been
conveyed to you vide this Secretariat’s letter of even number dated
8th Nov, 2007. I find no merit as such in your appeal.”

This has brought Ms. Asha Rani to her second appeal before us pleading
as follows:

“To direct the CPIO to provide copies of documents mentioned in
my application dated 15.10.07 and to pass any order as may be
deemed fit by the Hon’ble Commission.”

The appeal was heard on 21.4.2009. The following are present:

Appellant
Ms. Asha Rani.

Shri Ramniwas.

Respondents
Shri Pawan Kumar, Deputy Secretary.

Shri Y. M. Kandpal, Deputy Secretary.

Shri Harish Chander, Deputy Secretary-II.

2

Shri Pawan Kumar, Dy. Secretary submitted that on receiving the hearing
notice the Lok Sabha Secretariat reconsidered their earlier decision and have
provided the information sought to Ms. Asha Rani. Ms. Asha Rani on the other
hand submitted that she has not received a copy, which was then handed over to
her in the hearing. Shri Pawan Kumar also submitted that the disclosure of the
names of members of the Panel, which are held in confidence by the Lok Sabha
Secretariat, will amount to breach of the fiduciary relationship, hence the plea of
exemption under sec. 8(1) sub sec. (e).

DECISION NOTICE

No grounds for exemption have been cited in refusing information on points
1 to 4 to appellant Ms. Asha Rani. Admittedly, the Lok Sabha Sectt. have had
second thoughts on this issue and have now provided information sought in point
No. 1. However, no such response has been made with regard to questions 2, 3
& 4 except the citation of sec. 8(1)(e) which has only limited application, since the
question asked goes beyond seeking only the identity of panel members.
Appellant also agreed that she was not insistent on knowing the names of the
Panel Members but wished to be satisfied that the mark-sheet was authentic by
perusing the photocopies sought.

Under sec. 2(j) the ‘Right to Information’ gives every citizen the right to
access all information “which is held by or under the control of any public
authority”. Under the circumstances, CPIO Lok Sabha Sectt will provide all such
information that has been sought by appellant Ms. Asha Rani to her. within ten
working days of the date of receipt of this Decision Notice, except such
information which will disclose the identities of the Members of the Panel. This
will be done with application of the severability clause, as mandated in sec. 10
sub-sec. (1), excluding the names from the photocopy provided. The appeal is
thus allowed. There will be no costs.

3

Announced in the hearing. Notice of this decision be given free of cost to
the parties.

(Wajahat Habibullah)
Chief Information Commissioner
21.4.2009

Authenticated true copy. Additional copies of orders shall be supplied against
application and payment of the charges, prescribed under the Act, to the CPIO
of this Commission.

(Pankaj Shreyaskar)
Joint Registrar
21.4.2009

4

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