RTI: Tribunal Members ACR Can Be Disclosed If In Public Interest
The Petitioner claimed that pursuant to complaints of corruption against Ms. Jyoti Balasundaram, Member, CESTAT, the President of the CESTAT had made adverse entries in the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) of Ms. Jyoti Balasundaram for the year 2000-01 and that the Ministry of Finance had opened a file for follow up action. However, as no proper action was not taken in the matter and the file was closed in favour of Ms. Jyoti Balasundaram, the Petitioner filed a RTI application seeking inspection and copies of the file. The application was rejected by the CPIO of CESTAT, the First Appellate Authority & the CIC on the ground that the ACR grades & file notings could not be disclosed to third parties. On a Writ Petition filed to challenge the non-disclosure, HELD:
The ACR & the Follow up file are an integral part of the ACR record of the officer. In Arvind Kejriwal vs. CPIO AIR 2010 Delhi 216 it was held that except in cases involving overriding public interest, the ACR record of an officer cannot be disclosed to any person other than the officer himself/herself. As the CIC has not examined whether larger public interest justifies the disclosure of the information sought by the Petitioner in this case, matter remanded with the direction the information should be disclosed if the CIC comes to a conclusion that larger public interest justifies the disclosure.