Information under fiduciary capacity can be disclosed: HC

Information under fiduciary capacity can be disclosed: HC

Delhi HC

Interpreting various provisions of the Right to Information Act, Justice Sanjiv Khanna said the "competent authority" has power to make public information held by them in fiduciary capacity in public interest.

"Under Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act, the competent authority is entitled to examine the question whether in view of the larger public interest information protected under the sub-clause should be disclosed... The competent authority can direct disclosure of information, if it comes to the conclusion that larger public interest warrants disclosure," Justice Khanna said.

The judgement assumes significance in view of the stand taken by the Supreme Court that the information held by Chief Justice of India pertaining to the appointment of judges and their assets could not be made public on the ground that he holds such information in fiduciary capacity.

The competent authority defined in the Act includes the President or the Governor, Chairman and speaker of legislative body, Chief Justice of India, Chief Justices of High Courts.

 The High Court, while passing judgement on a bunch of appeals filed against CIC order, rejected the plea of the Centre which had contended that information held in fiduciary relationship do not come within the ambit of transparency law.

"This is the public interest which the exemption (relating to fiduciary relationship) is designed to protect. It should not be expanded beyond what is desired to be protected," the court said.

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