New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that the names of the members of an interview board, set up to select candidates for government jobs, cannot be divulged under the RTI Act as it might endanger their lives.
"The disclosure of names and addresses of the members of the interview board would ex facie endanger their lives or physical safety. The possibility of a failed candidate attempting to take revenge from such persons cannot be ruled out," a bench of Justices Swatanter Kumar and SJ Mukhopadhaya said.
The apex court set aside the order of the Patna High Court which had directed Bihar Public Service Commission to reveal the names and addresses of the members of the interview board which had cleared the names of candidate for job in Police Laboratory in Crime Investigation Department of the state.
The court said although the right to information is a basic and fundamental right but is not uncontrolled and it has to be balanced with the right to privacy while directing a public authority to reveal information under the transparency law.
"The right to information is a basic and celebrated fundamental/basic right but is not uncontrolled. It has its limitations," the bench said, adding that "the right to information has to be balanced with the right to privacy within the framework of law."
"The view of the High Court that element of bias can be traced and would be crystallised only if the names and addresses of the examiners/interviewers are furnished is without any substance. The element of bias can hardly be co-related with the disclosure of the names and addresses of the interviewers," the bench said. The apex court said marks are required to be disclosed but disclosure of individual names would hardly be relevant either to the concept of transparency or for proper exercise of the right to information within the limitation of the Act.
"On one hand, it is likely to expose the members of the interview board to harm and, on the other, such disclosure would serve no fruitful much less any public purpose," it said.