(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen,—
(a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence;
(b) information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court;
(c) information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature;
(d) information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;
(e) information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;
(f) information received in confidence from foreign Government;
(g) information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes;
(h) information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders;
(i) cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers:
Provided that the decisions of Council of Ministers, the reasons thereof, and the material on the basis of which the decisions were taken shall be made public after the decision has been taken, and the matter is complete, or over:
Provided further that those matters which come under the exemptions specified in this section shall not be disclosed;
(j) information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the Appellate Authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information:
Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.
(2) Notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923) nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with sub-section (1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.
(3) Subject to the provisions of clauses (a), (c) and (i) of sub-section (1), any information relating to any occurrence, event or matter which has taken place, occurred or happened twenty years before the date on which any request is made under Section 6 shall be provided to any person making a request under that section:
Provided that where any question arises as to the date from which the said period of twenty years has to be computed, the decision of the Central Government shall be final, subject to the usual appeals provided for in this Act.
CBSE v. Aditya Bandopadhyay, (2011) 8 SCC 497: Purpose of Section 8 is to protect the public interest and democratic ideals. Hence this section should be harmoniously constructed because it is not possible to enumerate all types of information which require to be exempted from disclosure in the public interest.
Yashwant Sinha v. CBI, (2019) 6 SCC 1: Sections 8(2) and 24 effectuate justice delivery system by providing accessibility of relevant evidence in respect of corruption and human rights violations, thus enabling effective judicial review. Effective judicial review is a basic feature of the Constitution.
ICAI v. Shaunak H. Satya, (2011) 8 SCC 781 : (2011) 4 SCC (Civ) 504: Section 8(1) (e) uses the words “information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship”. Significantly Section 8(1) (e) does not use the words “information available to a public authority in its fiduciary relationship”. The use of the word “person” shows that the holder of the information in a fiduciary relationship need not only be a “public authority” as the word “person” is of much wider import than the words “public authority”.
Therefore the exemption under Section 8(1) (e) is available not only in regard to information that is held by a public authority (in this case the examining body) in a fiduciary capacity but also to any information that is given or made available by a public authority to anyone else for being held in a fiduciary relationship.