This piece of news has left me shocked – According to a news appearing in ToI yesterday, Indian Central Information Commission (CIC) has said that an Individual’s passport information could be disclosed under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act).
Essentially, what this means is – All your demographic information including address, education, travel details etc can be handed over to 3rd party if he/she files for an RTI for that information. According to me, this is serious invasion of privacy and something that should not be allowed.
This information came out relating to a RTI filed by Anita Singh, who wanted information which included passport details and copies of Ajeet Singh ( Indian ex-cabinet minister) while applying for passport. Although, the external affairs ministry did not disclose the details. The reason offered was that this information cannot be disclosed without taking views from the involved party.
Now, there are definitely gray areas on this subject. Let me be clear that ToI article does not detail on what grounds this information could be passed on to third party. However, CIC commissioner was quoted saying “There are some extraordinary situations where the state may be allowed to invade the privacy of a citizen”.
I do not have objection for release of information, if the RTI is filed regarding travels being done on Government expenses or divulging residential information if the concerned person is living in Government property. However, giving out any information about a person not relating to Government is a strict no-no.
Would love to hear your thought on this!