‘Disclosure of interest under RTI necessary to establish applicant’s bonafide’, rules Delhi HC

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The Delhi High Court, in a ruling, has observed that the disclosure of interest regarding the information being sought by an applicant under the Right to Information (RTI) Law would be necessary to establish their bonafides.

“This Court is of the opinion that whenever information is sought under the RTI Act, disclosure of an interest in the information sought would be necessary to establish the bonafides of the applicant,” Justice Prathiba M. Singh said.

The single-bench added that the non-disclosure of the interest could result in injustice to several other affected persons whose information is sought. The court made the observation while dealing with a petition seeking information with regard to appointments made for the Multi-tasking Staff of the Presidential Estate, Rashtrapati Bhawan.

While dismissing the petition, the court imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the petitioner for concealing the fact that his daughter had also applied for the post. It said the fact does not find mention in the petition and further noted that perusal of the writ petition also shows that the petitioner himself was earlier working in the Presidential Estate on an ad-hoc basis, from 2012 to 2017.

“The present writ petition is cleverly quiet about the fact that the Petitioner’s daughter had applied for being considered for appointment for the post of Multi-Tasking Staff at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. The seeking of the above information, especially after the Petitioner’s daughter did not obtain employment, clearly points to some ulterior motives,” the order reads.

The applicant Har Kishan in 2018 had sought information regarding the appointments. While he was provided most of the information, his particular query for information pertaining to residential address and father’s name of selected candidates was declined on the ground of it being personal information. The President’s Secretariat before court argued that disclosure of the information would violate the privacy of the persons.

The court in the order also notes that Kishan had earlier filed another petition for inquiry into the appointments following which 10 candidates were found to have obtained jobs on the basis of fake certificates.

“The present petition is restricted to the challenge to the impugned order passed by the CIC in the second appeal, which relates only to the RTI application of the Petitioner. This Court, in this case, is thus not going into the said investigation report of the Committee,” reads the order.

Section 6(2) of the RTI Act 2005 states that “an applicant making request for information shall not be required to give any reason for requesting the information or any other personal details except those that may be necessary for contacting him”.

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