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Sunakshi   25 August 2021

Rti and self-incrimination

Do I have to reply to a RTI application against my organization when such information contains self incriminating facts?



 4 Replies

H.JanakiManohar Rao (lawyer)     25 August 2021

If you are authorised to give reply under the RTI Act . you have to give informatin sought as per the Act.
1 Like

Ananya Gosain   26 August 2021

The Indian Constitution provides immunity to an accused against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) – ‘No person accused of an offense shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. However, one of the ingredients of this article is that-

The person must be accused of an offence

This privilege is only available to a person against whom a formal accusation relating to the commission of an offence has been levelled, which may result in prosecution.  A formal accusation can be made by lodging an F.I.R. or a formal complaint against a person accusing him of committing a crime. It applies only to formal accusations and not on departmental inquiries into allegations against a government servant since there is no accusation of any offense.

Under Right to Information Act there are only the following situations where you can hold on to access to information:

1) Information that would prejudice the International relations, integrity, and national security of India.

2) Information that has been expressly forbidden to be published by court or tribunal or if such disclosure of information leads to contempt of court.

3) Information that is covered by legal/professional privilege.

4) Information including commercial confidence, trade secrets, or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party.

5) Information that is being sought out of the fiduciary relationship.

6) Information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes.

7) Information that would hinder the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

8) Information related to cabinet paper and their records

To conclude Officials are not required to provide private or personal information which is exempted under Section 8(1) (j) of the Act. Again, this is decided on a case-to-case basis (as has indeed been the case with the decisions of the CIC). If public interest is served by disclosing such information then it must be given.

Regards

1 Like

minakshi bindhani   22 October 2021

As per your concerns!

The Supreme Court has ruled ‘personal information is exempt from disclosure under the Right to Information Act unless there was larger public interest involved.

Under Section 8(1)(j) of the Act and can’t be shared with RTI applicants, unless there was larger public interest involved. 

If the information does not contain any larger public interest therein.No need to disclose the fact.

The Right to Information is not mainly a statutory right provided under the RTI Act for the reason that the Supreme Court vide its various decisions already declared Right to Information as implied fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India. (Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) (P) Ltd. v. Union of India.

Whereas under Article 20(3) – ‘No person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. It is based on the legal maxim “Nemo teneteur produce access are seipsum”, which  means “No man is obliged to be a witness against himself.”

In  Nandini Sathpathy v. PL Dani

The Supreme Court held that the objective of Article 20(3) is to protect the accused from unnecessary police harassment and the right against self-incrimination is available to witness and the accused in the same manner, and it is applicable at every stage where information is furnished. The privilege under Article 20(3) is applied at the stage of a police investigation when the information is extracted.

Hope it helps
Regards
Minakshi Bindhani

Sudhir Kumar, Advocate (Advocate)     12 January 2022

better state facts of the case.

 

As far as fundamental right agsinst self incrimination is concened, it is to be understood that every fundamental right can be abridged or denied as per procedure established by law and RTI Act is a procedure established by law.

 

One expert has already stated the facts under which the information can  be denied and this list does not include the factor of self incrimination.


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