Third Party Information under RTI Act 2005: Meaning and Procedure

Third Party Information under RTI Act, 2005Many a time Public Information Officer (PIO) denies information to the applicant by calling the information as third party information: sometime to avoid disclosure of information and sometime due to lack of understanding of what does constitute third party information. This makes necessary to understand what does exactly constitute third party information under RTI Act 2005.

What is Third Party under RTI Act 2005?

Section 2(n) of the Right To Information Act, 2005 defines Third Party as “third party” means a person other than the citizen making a request for information and includes a public authority. Let me explain this as below:

First Party: Information Seeker or Applicant.

Second Party: Pubic Authority to whom RTI Application is submitted.

Third Party: Any individual, firm, another government department, NGOs, etc. other than First Party and Second Party.

What is Third Party Information under RTI Act 2005?

Any information pertaining to third party shall be termed as third party information under RTI. Following are the examples of third party information:

  • Individual’s medical records held at a government hospital;
  • Copies of power bills, etc. held by government authority;
  • Passport Number or Permanent Account Number (PAN) of an individual;
  • Information of spouse’s locker, etc.

Procedure of disclosing Third Party Information under RTI Act 2005:

Section 11 of the RTI Act provides the procedure for disclosure of third party information. Section 11 (1) of the RTI Act is activated once the PIO intends to disclose to an applicant any information that relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party. Once Section 11 (1) of the RTI Act is applicable, the PIO shall follow the notification procedure to the third party to seek objections as to whether such information will be disclosed or not. To know the complete procedure that PIO shall follow to disclose the thitd party information, you may read Procedure to disclose Third Party Information.

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  • A. Chakraborty

    Dear Mr. Sanjit,
    Thanks for all your earlier guidance.
    Aggrieved with all earlier responses,
    I had filed another RTI (online) with a PSU (Govt. of India) where I had asked the following information :
    1) Whether any representation was received from Mrs/Mr X vide her application dated xxxxxx , at Corporate Head Quarters, ……(Organization).. New Delhi addressed to the Chairman, which was forwarded by the Regional Head Quarters, XXXX (same organization).
    2) If the reply to 1) above is yes, kindly provide the date on which it was received at Corporate Head Quarters ….. New Delhi.
    3) Whether the aforesaid representation / application from Mr/Mrs X was forwarded to the concerned Directorate (YYYY) at CHQ, if Yes kindly provide the date on which it was forwarded.
    4) Whether any further communication was received from concerned directorate (YYYY), if yes kindly provide the date on which it was received.
    5) Whether any reply was sent back to the applicant Mr / Mrs X, regarding his / her representation, if yes kindly provide the letter number with date.

    Similarly I had also sought information on another Grievance application submitted by Mr / Mrs X

    Firstly I would like to inform you, the CPIO didnot reply within the time frame of 30 days. Then I had filed the First Appeal.
    Today I got the reply to my RTI and the reply is :
    ” The Information pertains to third party, hence cannot be provided”

    I have throughly gone through the provisions contained in RTI Act, but could understand the CPIO can very well issue notice to the Third Party , here in my case Mr/Mrs X and then could have replied with his/her consent. As in my case the third party is very well known to me, and I have confirmed, from Him/Her that no such notice has been issued by CPIO and I understand the CPIO is avoiding the reply.
    Now can you please suggest what should be my grievance in my First Appeal in this case. I am determined to take this case to the highest level. I am fully aware, the organization is testing my patience. They are also trying to gain time. For the earlier denials of CPIO, I have already filed First Appeal.
    Thanks once again for your guidance.

    • Hello A. Chakraborty Ji,
      Thank you for your detailed query. Detailed query helps me to reply correctly.
      The PIO can’t simply deny information by saying that it is third party information. Information can be denied only under section (8) and (9) of the RTI Act. If PIO denies third party information, he must refer some sub-section of section (8) of the RTI Act. If the sought information does not pertain to Section (8) of the RTI Act, PIO shall send notice to the third party for his opinion. Even if the third party denies to furnish information, the PIO can furnish information to you if the larger public interest is served.
      In your case, there is nothing like third party information. You have not asked any documents of third party. You have only asked dates, etc., which are administrative matter. Thus, it is purely misleading reply from PIO. I suggest you to file complaint before Information Commission under section 18 of the RTI Act for late and misleading reply. Second, you wait for decision on First Appeal. After you receive decision on First Appeal, you may go for second Appeal too. There is nothing wrong in filing both Complaint, and Second Appeal on the same matter because both serves different purpose. Hope this helps.
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