The present Appeal No. ISBBI/A/E/21/00022 dated 29th August 2021 has been filed by Mr. Sanket Garg (Appellant) under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act), against the disposal of his RTI Application No. ISBBI/R/E/21/00101 dated 18th May 2021 by the Central Public Information Officer – CPIO (Respondent), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) on 4 the June 2021. CPIO, had, vide communication dated 4 the June, 2021 informed the Appellant that – “Disclosing the answers to the live question bank violates the integrity of the same, which is in use. It will breach the confidentiality/secrecy of the live question bank. Hence the information is exempted under section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act, 2005.” The Appellant has filed the
instant Appeal against aforesaid decision stating that -“ …. there is no book available of IBBI which
contains the questions samples you ask in live exam. Further the study material provided is also not selfsufficient, hence request you to kindly share the questions so that we can able to understand the real format of the exam.”
I have carefully considered the application, the response and the appeal and find that the
matter can be decided based on the material available on record. It is noted that the Appellant has, in his Application and in the instant Appeal, asked for questions and answers (correct one as well as the answers given by him) of all the 6 attempts he had made in SFA Valuation examination required to be cleared by him for registration as Registered Valuer. It is noted that the communication of CPIO dated 4th June, 2021 made vide RTI Portal and was served upon the Appellant on the same date. Thus, the instant Appeal is barred by limitation period stipulated under section 19 of RTI Act as the Appellant has filed it after expiry of 30 days from the date of receipt of the decision of the CPIO. The Appeal, therefore, deserves to be dismissed on this ground alone.
Without prejudice to above, it is also pertinent to mention that the Appellant’s “right to
information” flows from section 3 of the RTI Act and the said right is subject to the provisions
of the Act. The RTI Act is meant for providing ‘information’ which is not exempted under
section 8. Section 8(1)(d) exempts disclosure of information including commercial
confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the
competitive position of a third party, unless it is shown that the larger public interest warrants
the disclosure of such information. While applying these provisions, there need to be proper
balancing of private right and public interest taking into account the facts and circumstances
and exemptions provided in the RTI Act.