"Given our dismal record of mis-governance and rampant corruption which collude to deny citizens their essential rights and dignity, it is in the fitness of things that the Citizen's Right to Information is given greater primacy with regard to privacy," Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said while ordering the disclosure.
The case relates to an RTI application filed by one Anita Singh who sought copies of documents annexed by one Ajeet Pratap Singh while applying for his passport, besides other details about the application.
The External Affairs Ministry stated that third party information cannot be disclosed without taking the views of the party and since the present residential information of the applicant was not known, it would not be possible to take his views and disclose the details sought under the RTI Act.
"The Commission rules that if the third party's address is not located it does not mean the citizen's right to information would disappear. Section-11 is a procedural requirement that gives third party an opportunity to voice and objection in releasing the information," he said.
Gandhi said the procedure of Section 11 comes into effect if the Public Information Officer (PIO) believes that the information exists and is not exempted, and the third party has treated it as confidential.
"Section 11 does not give a third party an unrestrained veto to refuse disclosing information. It clearly anticipates situations where the PIO will not agree with the claim for non-disclosure by a third party and provides for a appeal to be made by the third party against disclosure, which would have been unnecessary, if the third party had been given a veto against disclosure," he said. (More)