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Can I ask for a copy of the service records under the Right to Information Act?

Shivendra Pratap Singh



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Question: Can I ask for a copy of the service records under the Right to Information Act? Is it a private document or public document? Is there any restriction on the demand of such information towards the government employee?

Facts: I am a government employee and currently under suspension. My colleague has made a false complaint against me for issuance of an illegal permit. He informed my superior officer that I had issued a permit to a cotton trader when he was on leave. The department has initiated an inquiry against me and issued a show cause notice. I want a copy of the service record of my colleague to prove that he was not on leave. 

Question from: Uttar Pradesh

Advise: Service record is a public document, therefore, you can take a copy of it under the Right to Information Act (RTI). The RTI Act emperors the citizen to inspect government documents in the larger public interest. If there is public interest in disclosure of government documents the department cannot refuse to furnish the certified copy or photocopy of those documents.

Can I ask for a copy of the service records under the Right to Information Act?

So far as service record is concerned, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has held it as a public document. In Shri Chetan Kothari vs Western Railway CIC 2012 the CIC has held that service records are public documents.  The CIC has held that the Public Authority is obligated under section 4(1)(b) the RTI Act to disclose information related to the service of its  employees.

Service records are public document

Service details of a public servant are public document. It is not a personal or confidential information. Therefore, a citizen can seek information about the service record under the RTI Act. The bar of section 8 of the RTI Act is not applicable on the supply of information towards the service records. However, Section 8 of the RTI Act prevents the public authorities from disclosing personal information. But provision of Section 8 will not applicable on the information regarding the service records.

Is there any restriction on giving information of service records

When the authority thinks that disclosure of personal information has no relationship to public activity or its disclosure may cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual then it may refuse to furnish that information. Since, bar of Section 8 does not apply on the information related to service records therefore, you can seek copy of service records under the RTI Act.

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Shivendra Pratap Singh


Practising lawyer in the High Court Lucknow. You can consult on Criminal, Civil, Matrimonial, Writ, Service matters, Property, Revenue and RERA related issues.

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