The Right to Information Act 2005 is a great tool for encouraging transparency in the working of the government to gain people’s trust. Although any government information can be sought by a citizen, there are some cases where in the RTI is not applicable. Read further to know about some of the situations when RTI is not applicable and information cannot be sought.
Cases Where RTI is Not Applicable:
1. While Seeking Out Information From Private Organizations:
The Right to Information Act is applicable only in case you wish to seek information relating to the government. RTI does not apply in case of private bodies such as Amazon, Flipkart, Vodafone and so on. If you wish to obtain information pertaining to a private organization, you must contact the organization directly and request them to provide the information.
It is up to the organization to decide whether they will be providing the requested information or not, filing an RTI won’t help in this case.
You can possibly seek for some specific details regarding the private organizations which are under the public purview - like company registration details, court cases filed against them, legal matters concerning public at large etc. This is because these information will be targeted to the concerned government authorities like courts, registrars etc. and not the companies directly.
2. While Seeking Out Income Tax Return Information of a Random Person:
Each citizen needs to file the ITR (Income Tax Return) depending on the slab stated by the government of India. The ITR is thus the complete data about the incomes and investments of a person during a financial year.
If you are thinking that by filing an RTI to the income tax department, which is a government institution, you can get the Income Tax Return details of a random person, you are wrong and such a thing isn’t permitted by the RTI. This is because the details disclosed by a person in his/her income-tax returns are ‘personal information’ which are exempted from revelation under clause (j) of section 8(1) of the RTI.
However, if the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer of the appellate authority is satisfied that disclosure of such information justifies the interest of the larger public, then appropriate orders could be passed. The petitioner can still not claim those details as a matter of right.
For instance, seeking of income information of politicians and government office bearers is permitted as they need to disclose their incomes in any case when the contest for elections or take up positions in the government offices. This, however does not mean that you can get access to incomes of every government employee - as the incomes of government employees are not a matter of public interest.
3.Involving Issues Sensitive to National Security:
There is a lot of information stored with the government which, if leaked, can be a threat to the nation. Hence, the Right to Information Act is not applicable to any information which, if exposed, might be a threat to national security. A good example of such information is regarding the information stored in various intelligence agencies.
4. In Extracting Personal Information of People:
In order to protect each citizen’s privacy rights, the Right to Information Act is not applicable in seeking out personal information of a person. No personal information of an individual can be provided under the RTI.
Avoid confusion and file an RTI with confidence:
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Have a nice day!