RTI exemptions

THE HANS INDIA |   Aug 29,2017 , 01:31 AM IST


In the RTI Act, 2005, Section 8(1) lists all of the exemptions:  (a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the security, sovereignty and integrity of India; (b) information which may constitute contempt of court; (c) information that would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature; (d) information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; (e) information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; (f) information received in confidence from foreign government; (g) information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person; (h) information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders; (i) cabinet papers including records of deliberations, which come under the specified exemptions; (j) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has not relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy.

It is extremely positive that even where requested information is covered by an exemption, the information should still be disclosed to the applicant if the public interest in the specific case requires it. When applying this test, three questions should be asked by officials: Is the information covered by a legitimate exemption? The PIO should tell you in the notice responding to your application what the exemption is; (2)Will disclosure cause substantial harm? and (3) Is the likely harm greater than the public interest in disclosure? according to www.humanrightsinitiative.org.

By the Section 24(2) in the RTI Act, the Central government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, amend the Schedule by including therein any other intelligence or security organisation established by that Government or omitting therefrom any organisation already specified therein and on the publication of such notification, such organisation shall be deemed to be included in or, as the case may be, omitted from the Schedule. However, Section 24(1) stipulates that if the information pertains to allegations of corruption and human rights violations it shall not be excluded under this sub-section.

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