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Indian Polity

The disclosure of personal information was discretionary under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. The statute has given the discretion to the Public Information Officer (PIO).

Justice Chandrachud said the information about assets of judges and official communication during the process of elevation of judges to the Supreme Court are treated as confidential third-party information.

In such cases, the PIO should follow the procedure mandated in Section 11 of the RTI Act.

That is, a notice should be first issued to the third party — the judge concerned — about the RTI request for information. The view of the third party should be considered before the PIO takes a call. “Personal information, which if disclosed, could lead to an unwarranted invasion of privacy right… what should be disclosed would depend on authentic enquiry relating to the public interest,” the Supreme Court observed.

Justice Ramana even listed certain “non-exhaustive factors” for the PIO to consider while deciding whether the information sought was private.

These factors include various criteria from the nature of the information sought to its impact on the private life of the judge.

The Bench upheld the Delhi High Court judgment of 2010 that the CJI does not hold information on the personal assets of fellow judges in a fiduciary capacity.

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