In response to an application filed under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) seeking details about Supreme Court Justice (Retired) Arun Mishra's overstay in his official Bungalow, the Supreme Courthas revealed that information in this regard cannot be provided as the same are exempt under Section 8 (1) (j) & Section 11 (1) of the RTI Act.
Justice Arun Mishra, who retired from the Supreme Court on September 2 last year, continued to occupy his official residence, 13 Akbar Road, New Delhi, till January 31 this year.
The specific query raised in the RTI Application was:-
" If Justice Arun Mishra has not yet vacated the official residence on retirement, please provide the reason for not vacating the official residence in accordance with the supreme Court Judges Rules. Please provide details of amount paid in rent for overstay in official residence."
The reply was given by the Additional Registrar and Central Public Information Officer of the Supreme Court, Ajay Agarwal, in an application filed by Cherly D'souza.
Justice Mishra was allotted the official residence at 13 Akbar Road, New Delhi on September 10, 2014, after he assumed office as a judge of the Supreme Court of India on July 7, 2014. In accordance with the Supreme Court Judges Rules, 1959, (Rule 4A), where a judge occupies a residence beyond the period specified in rule 4 (that is, throughout his term of office and for a period of one month immediately thereafter), he shall be liable to pay, for the period of over stay, rent calculated in accordance with the provisions of Fundamental Rules 45-B together with full departmental charges or if the rents have been pooled, the pooled standard rent under Fundamental Rules 45-A whichever is higher.
On the details of market rent payable by Justice Mishra, Agarwal replied: “Further, rest part of the information sought is not available.”
As per Section 8 (1)(j) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has not relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information, which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person, is exempted from disclosure.
Further, Section 11 (1) of the RTI Act comes into picture when one needs a piece of information that relates to a third party, then the Authority needs to consult a third party.
It wouldn't be incorrect to say that Section 11 does not prevent disclosure of third-party information; rather, it facilitates furnishing of third-party information subject to the consent of the third party.