Can a landlord track the current address of a tenant, who vacated the flat without paying rent, through RTI? In an interesting case, the Central Information Commission (CIC) dismissed the appeal of a landlord who sought information about the present address of a tenant who vacated his flat without paying his rent.
As per details of the case, V Venkatapathy, the appellant (landlord) had filed an application under the Right to Information Act 2005 before the Central Public Information officer (CPIO), Life Insurance Corporation of India, Tamil Nadu, seeking details such as the residential address of a LIC Star Agent working at Ambattur Branch.
The appellant claimed that the said LIC Star Agent was his tenant who had vacated his flat without any intimation and without paying the rent.
The CPIO dismissed the appeal, saying the residential address of the agent cannot be disclosed under Section 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act as the query was not linked to any public activity or interest. Following this, the landlord filed another appeal before the First Appellate Authority (FAA) on 23 November 2020.
The FAA, however, upheld the CPIO’s decision and disposed of the appeal. The landlord then filed a second appeal before CIC on the ground that the “information sought has not been provided to him”.
What CIC said
The CIC observed the appellant had admitted that his grievance was regarding non-payment of rent by the said LIC agent and grievances cannot be settled under the purview of the RTI Act.
“…the Commission is of the view that residential address of other individual is his/her personal information which cannot be disclosed to the appellant as per section 8 (1) (j) of RTI Act, 2005. The appellant has also failed to establish larger public interest in seeking such information. Hence, the reply provided by the respondent vide their letter dated 31.10.2020 is satisfactory and same is being upheld by the Commission,” the CIC said in its order dated October 3, 2022.
The CIC also said the appellant may approach the “appropriate forum” as RTI is not a forum for the redressal of grievances.