The Himachal Pradesh High Court has on Friday held that once a party has died, his/her death certificate can’t be termed third party information under Section 11 of the Right to Information Act, as that information is only related to the deceased.
The Court was hearing the plea in which the appellant/applicant has sought direction to the Panchayat Secretary, Shingla, Development Block, Rampur, District Shimla, H.P. to provide the copy of death certificate and the names and addresses of legal representatives of deceased on the ground that the aforesaid officer has refused to provide the requisite information.
The Bench of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan ruled that Once a party has died, his death certificate cannot be termed a ‘Third Party Information’, as that information relates/related only to the deceased. Therefore, it is not understood how this could be termed to be a third party information so as to claim exemption from disclosure under third party information, as contained in Sections 8(1)(j) & 11 of the Act.
The bench further said, “It is more than settled that entries in Birth and Death Register are public documents and admissible under Section 35 of the Indian Evidence Act and it is not necessary to prove, who made the entries and what was the source of information. It is directed that henceforth whenever a copy of death certificate is demanded by any person or authority under Right to Information Act, or even on simple paper, the same shall be given by all the Panchayat Secretaries in the State of Himachal Pradesh, subject to of course on usual charges.”
The Director (Panchayati Raj) has been directed to issue necessary instructions in one week.