Tuesday, October 28, 2008
New Delhi (PTI): A government employee's educational qualification or details of degrees acquired by him while in service cannot be withheld from an RTI applicant on the grounds of being "personal information", the CIC has held.
Hearing the plea of Lt Col Parvinder Ahluwalia, Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said that as educational details of the government employees are in public domain and can be provided under RTI. Ahluwalia had sought information about the legal qualification of Lt Col Mahender Singh Yadav.
He wanted to know the name of the college from where Yadav acquired his Law Degree, the year of his joining the course, the name of the University, whether official permission was required for his joining the course while in service and whether the official nod was granted to him for pursuing the degree course.
The Army refused to share information under section 8 (1) (j) of RTI Act saying "being personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or it should cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual."
Ahluwalia pleaded that exemption of educational qualification from RTI was unjustified. He argued that any information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a state legislature may not be denied to any person. He asserted that the information sought by him is such that it is liable to be given to Parliament.
The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.
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