`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.

Last Updated: Dec 07, 2010, 19:01 PM IST

New Delhi: 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.

"The appellant had asked questions about passengers on
whom customs duty was levied between a certain period at the
Chennai International Airport. There is no allusion of
illegality in the action of such passengers. They seem to have
paid the additional customs duty voluntarily as per the
Customs laws," Tiwari said.
PTI