Caste and Privacy: Synonymous or Not?

Caste is often linked with identity; however this information is sensitive and holds importance beyond the mere identity of a person. The Madras High Court rejected a case where Mr Muthian sought information of candidates selected on their caste background under their respective reservations.

The following is a list of the information sought by Mr Muthian.

  1. Total number of vacancies called for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008;
  2. Number of seats allocated to the Backward Community out of the total number of vacancies called for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008;
  3. Number of seats allocated to the Most Backward Community out of the total number of vacancies called for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008;
  4. Out of seats allocated to the Backward Community, the list of the selected candidates from the sub-castes of Muthuraja and Muthriyar;
  5. Out of seats allocated to the Most Backward Community, the list of selected candidates from the sub-castes Ambalakarar; and
  6. Out of seats allocated to the Most Backward Community, the list of selected candidates from Vanniya Kula Shatriar sub-castes (Vanniyar, Vanniya, Vanniya Gounder, Kandar, Padayachi Palli and Agni Kular Shathriar).

The verdict with respect to this took twelve years to get an Order of disclosure, with the caveat that if the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission takes the issue to the Supreme Court, then Mr Muthian would not be able to pursue his information.

This case is under the banner of the Right to Information Act, 2005. Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission cited Section 8(1)(d) of the said act which talks about commercial confidence, trade secrets and/ or intellectual property. In light of these incidents, the High Court of Madras Ordered the TNPSC to appraise the Court of the names and designations of all those involved in rejecting the RTI request, and who had subsequently failed to undertake their duties under the RTI Act.



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Kirit P. Mehta School of Law Publications