Tuesday, March 28, 2023

4,000 RTI applicants’ data on I&B ministry site, Bombay High Court orders inquiry

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New Delhi (ILNS): In a major breach of privacy, personal data of 4,000 Right to Information (RTI) applicants have been uploaded on the website of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The Bombay High Court today instructed the Secretary of the ministry to conduct an inquiry into this data leak.

The court was acting on a petition by activist and former journalist Saket Gokhale who wants his personal data to be removed from the ministry’s website. Having heard Gokhale, the court had reserved its order on October 30.

The Bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Milind Jadhav asked the Ministry to complete the probe and submit a report within three months, failing which liberty was given to Gokhale to approach the High Court.

The court has also directed the government to pay Rs 25,000 towards litigation costs incurred by Gokhale.

In its last order through a supplementary affidavit, the MIB had submitted that details of 4,474 RTI applicants were uploaded on their website in compliance with an Office Memorandum, and Gokhale was not singled out by the Ministry.

On October 30, advocate Rui Rodrigues, appearing for the Ministry, informed the court that Gokhale’s details were in any case removed as soon as he had approached the Ministry seeking the removal of his data.

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The court order has further granted Gokhale the liberty to move to the civil court for damages incurred due to such disclosure of his personal details.

-India Legal Bureau

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