शनिवार, 5 मार्च 2016

Fiduciary Relationship under RTI Act


One of the reasons for declining information is fiduciary relationship.

Section 8(1)(e) of RTI Act 2005 reads as under: Notwithstanding anything  contained  in this Act, there shall be no obligation  to give any citizen,- 

“Information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants disclosure of such information”

Black’s Law Dictionary describes a fiduciary relationship as “one founded on trust or confidence reposed by one person in the integrity and fidelity of another.”

To qualify for information as held under fiduciary relationship, it should have following ingredients:

1. Information should have been given to public authority voluntarily by the giver of information. Giver must have choice whether to give or not and to whom it should be given.

2. Information should not have been given to public authority under compulsion or compliance of any law or rule.

3. Information should have been given to public authority for using it for the benefit of its giver.

4. Information should have been given in utmost trust, confidence and faith by giver in the receiving public authority.

Some of the examples of fiduciary relationship are:

Litigant-lawyer, patient-doctor, investor-financial advisor, client-bank, beneficiary-trustee, ward-guardian, attorney-principal, director-shareholder parent-child, insured-insurer etc

Following information held by public authority of third party cannot be said to be held in fiduciary relationship if:

A] It is given to public authority under compliance of any law or rule [e.g. Income Tax Act, customs act, VAT, etc].

B] Giver has no choice but to give information to public authority.

C] Information is not given voluntarily by giver to public authority.

D] Information was not to be used for the benefit of giver by public authority.

E] information is not given in trust, confidence and faith in public authority.

E] it is in larger public interest to disclose, even if held under fiduciary relationship.

Important CIC decisions & judgements on fiduciary relationship:

i] CIC/AT/A/2008/01238 dated 07-06-2010
ii] CIC/SM/A/2010/001634/SG/14617 dated 15-09-2011
iii] CIC/SM/A/2011/001376/SG/15684 dated 15-11-2011

iv] Judgement dated 30-08-2010 of High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam in

v] Judgement of Full Bench of High Court of Delhi, in Secretary General Supreme Court of India V Subhash Chandra Agarwal, L.P.A. No. 501/2009.

The above material can be used in first or second appeal.

Compiled by: J P Shah, 9924106490   jpshah50@yahoo.co.in on 07-08-2012

Pradip Pradhan


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