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No joint inspection of illegal properties: CIC

PTI | Last Updated: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 19:26

New Delhi: CIC has dismissed a petition seeking inspection of alleged illegal constructions by a private person along with the officials of the Municipal Corporation saying it would be invasion of privacy of the property owners.

A Full Bench comprising of Chief Information Commissioner Deepak Sandhu and Information Commissioners Rajiv Mathur and Basant Seth ruled that such an inspection cannot be allowed as it attracts exemption clause 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.

The case relates to a man named A D Sharma who had sought copies of the police complaints of illegal construction and encroachment received by the offices of the MCD.

Sharma also sought a joint inspection of the alleged illegal properties with the engineers of MCD to ascertain action taken by them on the complaint.

This move was rejected by the three civic bodies -- East Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and North Delhi Municipal Corporation -- which said inspection of alleged "unauthorised constructions" is delegated statutory power authorised to the MCD engineers, with the prescribed procedure under the DMC Act.

"Without the said procedures, engineers can neither enter nor inspect the premises of the citizen who has a Right to Privacy. It was further submitted that merely because a person doubts the integrity and functioning of the officers of the MCD, it cannot be a ground to allow him the powers of Supervision and Powers of Entry," the civic bodies claimed in their submission before the Commission.

The Bench in its order said it is of the view that the said inspection of the properties would certainly attract Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act as it would invade the privacy of the occupants of the properties which is a Fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

"...Such `inspection` does not have any relationship to any Public Activity or interest especially in the presence of alternate mechanism to carry out such inspection by the MCD officials as per the Provisions of the DMC Act," it said while rejecting the petition.

First Published: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 19:26

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