Get call details under RTI Act

Question asked on: 31/08/2015

Can I get call details under RTI Act? I want to call details and tower location of a person because he eloped my sister. He is studying in her class, and both were love to each other. They decided to marry, and for that purpose, my sister always pressurised my mother to give her consent. After the incident, he is present in our village, but my sister is missing. I suspect that he was present in the vicinity when my sister ran away with him. If yes, then please inform under which provision.

Advised by: Shivendra Pratap Singh,

You want to call detail record (CDR) of a third person to whom you are not connected. The CDR is not a piece of public information. It is personal information and out of the purview of RTI. The Public Information Officer (PIO) does not disclose personal information unless and until it is in the broader public interest to give such information.

In Asia Ummer Nattukallingal v. BSNL, [2011] CIC 11120 the Chief Information Commissioner held that needless to say, the call details are personal information and this information can be disclosed only in the larger public interest.

In your case, there is no significant public interest to give CDR of a person to whom you suspect that he has eloped your sister. You can get call details of your sister’s mobile phone because you have a bona-fide interest to get that record. Her CDR may give some relevant evidence, and you can discover your sister as well as to prosecute the accused. Hence, this would constitute a larger public interest in getting the CDR.

The CDR of a third party is privileged information, and section 8 (1) of the RTI Act prohibits to disclose it. According to subclause (j) of section 8(1) a citizen has no right to get personal information of a person, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest.

In Vikas Goel v. CPIO [2013] CIC 2407, the CIC held that service provider is bound to protect the confidentiality of its subscribers. It cannot disclose to the third party information relating to mobile/telephone connection of any subscriber. This information is exempted under section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act unless the third person shows larger public interest in such disclosure.

When you file a complaint or FIR against the accused, then his CDR will become the vital evidence. Then you can claim that it is in the larger public interest to disclose his call details. After filing the FIR, you can move an application under section 6 of the RTI Act for obtaining his CDR. However, the investigating officer also has the power to collect CDR during the investigation. Section 161 & 162 of the Code of Criminal Procedure empower him to obtain relevant evidence about the offence.

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