Activist Saket Gokhale has moved the Bombay High Court to issue the directions to remove his personal information from the website of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. He has also sought a compensation worth Rs 50 lakh for mental trauma, agony, threat to life and liberty suffered.
33-year-old Activist Saket Gokhale who was a former journalist had been receiving a lot of hate messages and calls after the Bombay High Court declined his Public Interest Litigation on July 23. The PIL converted from his letter sought the stay on the gathering of 200-odd guests during the Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan ceremony in Ayodhya in view of the pandemic COVID-19 outbreak.
In the petition filed by Gokhale, he stated that he had filed an RTI application to the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs (MYSA) seeking information regarding the ‘Bharat ki Laxmi’ campaign which was supported by the dignitaries like Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal, P V Sidhu. The RTI application was transferred to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) by MYSA considering it more relevant to the ‘Man Ki Baat’ programme.
Gokhale stated in the petition that MIB has uploaded his RTI application filed in October 2019 on the website with all his personal details including contact number, address, among others.
The petition also states that after he filed a PIL in Bombay HC on July 24, 2020, a mob of 12-15 people gathered outside his house and provoked Gokhale and his mother to come outside and face them. Following the FIR lodged in connection to the incident, police protection was granted to him.
Gokhale through his petition informed the court that his personal information was not available anywhere until it was uploaded on the MIB website. He considered it the violation of his fundamental right to privacy under Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Indian Constitution.
The petitioner has also made reference to the Calcutta High Court 2013 order stating that it would be the responsibility of any public authority under the Right to Information Act, 2005 to hide the personal information of any RTI applicant on their website.
The HC bench headed by Justice Nitin Jamdar had given a week to the Gokhale to issue a notice to the MIB on September 3.