What is the consequence if any confidential information is disclosed by PIO under RTI Act 2005?

I have heard that some information will not be revealed by PIO. What is such information? What is the consequence if any confidential information is disclosed by PIO?

Act has given a clear definition for information and what constitutes Right to Information to the citizens.  Act has clearly given the obligations of the public authority authorized under the Act to maintain the records of available information and disseminate to the public in any means of communication effectively.  However, Act also provided some exemptions from disclosure of information under Section 8.  If the requested information falls under any of the categories given under, public authority is not required to disclose such information to any citizen.

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The categories given under Section 8 are  (a) information prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, foreign State relationship (b) information prohibited to be published by any Court of law or tribunal (c) information if disclosed may cause breach of privilege or Parliament or the State Legislature; (d) commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, that  harm the competitive position of a third party (e) information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship,  (f) confidential information received from foreign government; (g) information if disclosed may cause danger to life or physical safety of any person (h) information that stops the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; (i) cabinet papers (j) personal information which has no relationship to any public activity or interest.

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In Girish Ramchandra Deshpande Vs. Central Information Commissioner & Ors., the Apex court stated that “personal information” exempted from disclosure under clause (j) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, such can be disclosed only if it Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority is satisfied that larger public interest involved in disclosure of such information. The Court also held that the person requesting such information should prove the bona fide public interest in seeking such information. Otherwise, the disclosure of such information would cause unwarranted invasion of privacy of the individual under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.

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Adv. Anitha Gutti

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