Saturday, October 13, 2012

Right To Know Shouldn't Be Allowed To Infringe On Privacy 


Oct 13 2012: New Delhi: PM Manmohan Singh on Friday redflagged the misuse of the RTI Act again saying that a citizens right to know should definitely be circumscribed if it encroaches on an individuals privacy.
There is a fine balance required to be maintained between the right to information and the right to privacy,which stems out of the fundamental right to life and liberty.The citizens right to know should definitely be circumscribed if disclosure of information encroaches upon someones personal privacy.But where to draw the line is a complicated question, he said.
Addressing the seventh convention of Central Information Commissioners,the PM said,There are concerns about frivolous and vexatious use of the Act in demanding information disclosure of which cannot possibly serve any public purpose. 
Singh said such queries besides serving little productive purpose are also a drain on the resources of public authorities,diverting precious man-hours that could be put to better use.Sometimes information covering a long time-span or a large number of cases is sought in an omnibus manner with the objective of discovering an inconsistency or mistake which can be criticized, he said.Singh,on several occasions,has raised the issue of vexatious applications.

Times View 
Where the right to information intrudes into an area that is strictly private and does not impinge on public interest,clearly it must be circumscribed.However,there will be a lot of grey areas where the right to privacy and the right to information will be in conflict.In such situations,we would suggest that the law must err on the side of transparency.Those in public office which is where the RTI Act applies must accept that their right to privacy cannot be an absolute right and must bow to the larger public interest.Any other method of striking the balance between the two potentially conflicting rights would be against the spirit of true democracy and transparency.

Source: Times of India


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