FIDUCIARY RELATIONSHIP UNDER RTI ACT 2005
One of the reasons for declining information is fiduciary relationship.
Section 8.1.e of RTI Act 2005 reads as under:
“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
ii] CIC/SM/A/2010/001634/SG/14617 dated
iii] CIC/SM/A/2011/001376/SG/15684 dated
iv] Judgement dated
of High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam in
WP(C).No. 6532 of 2006(C) -1. TREESA IRISH, W/O.MILTON LOPEZ Vs CENTRAL PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
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.