Avishek Goenka, the writ petitioner and also an RTI activist filed a writ petition accompanied with the prayer that the authority should not insist upon the detailed address of the applicant when he files an RTI application. He apprehends that interested parties would cause a threat to the activist and also places emphasis that in the past where there have unfortunate incidents caused to the activists. Thus, the petitioner prayed that merely mentioning a Post Box number for the purpose of contacting the applicant should be enough for the purpose of the Right to Information Act (RTI Act).
The 2-judge bench of the Court, including the acting Chief Justice, ruled that disclosing a Post Box number should be adequate for the purpose of Section 6(2) of the RTI Act which requires an RTI applicant to provide his/her contacts details to the Public Information Officer while seeking information. The Court held that an applicant disclosing a Post Box number should not be compelled to disclose any further contact details. However if a public authority has any difficulty contacting the applicant through the Post Box No., the applicant may be asked to provide other contact details. The Court directed that the contact details of the applicant must not be disclosed on the public authority's website in order to avoid possible harassment.
DoPT in complying with the directions of the High Court of Kolkata has circulated the notice as this must be brought to the notice of all concerned.