Can third party get the promotion committee report of govt. employees?
Can the ACRs and Departmental promotion committee report used for promotions of a govt psu employees can be obtained by third party? One of the PSU of Govt of India denied the information on the ground that it is the information of Personal in nature and exempted from disclosure as per RTI act section 8(i)(j), where as some logical arguments and some decision of courts says that the ACR and DPC report of a employee of Govt Company working for Public are not personal in nature and are not exempted for disclosure to third party.
Kindly advise the exact legal status of the matter.
Firstly with respect to ACRs, the Supreme Court had held in 2008 that "In our opinion, every entry in the Annual Confidential Report of every employee under the State, whether he is in civil, judicial, police or other service (except the military), must be communicated to him."
The reasoning behind the same was that disclosure of all entries would "enable him (a public servant) to make a representation against it, because non-communication deprives the employee of the opportunity of making a representation against it, which may affect his chances of being promoted (or getting some other benefits)."
Secondly with respect to DPCRs, The Central Information Commission has ruled that an official is entitled to obtain information under the RTI Act, 2005 concerning the proceedings held by the DPC about his own promotion and also of other co-officials.
Now coming to whether a third party can apply for the same, in a recent Supreme Court judgement titled R.K. Jain v. Union of India, The Supreme Court had held that except in cases involving overriding public interest, the ACRs and DPCRs record of an officer cannot be disclosed to any person other than the officer himself/herself. It was held that When an application is made by a public person seeking such information, notice would be issued by the CIC or the CPIOs or the State Commission, as the case may be, to such person whose information is sought and after hearing such person, a decision will be taken by the CIC or the CPIOs or the State Commission whether or not to order disclosure of such information. Any such officer may plead a 'privacy' defence. But such defence may, for good reasons, be overruled.
In other words, after following the procedure outlined in Section 11(1) of the RTI Act, the CIC may still decide that information should be disclosed in public interest overruling any objection that the officer may have to the disclosure of such information.
Therefore when it comes to a third party, public interest needs to be shown so as to seek disclosure of any such information.
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