Sunday, December 12, 2010

'Names of passengers penalised by Customs can be made public'

The names of passengers who have been penalised by the Customs for unauthorised imports can be made public under the RTI Act, the Central Information Commission has held. Chief Information Commissioner A N Tiwari has held that disclosure of information of the nature of "detection of illegality and penal action by the officers of the public authority" is in larger public interest and should be provided to RTI applicants. "As the information requested is about the names of the passengers involved in such penal action, it would be inappropriate to provide to such passengers/third parties the advantage of exemption under Section 8(1)(j)," Tiwari held in a case where an RTI applicant had sought details of passengers who have been penalised by the Customs department. Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act exempts information which is personal and third party. The Commissioner, however, allowed withholding of information of passengers who have voluntarily paid the duty upon their arrival from abroad.

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