Report No. 185
After referring to the provision of various Indian statutes and some English statutes, the 69th Report observed in paras 35.14 to 35.17 that it is necessary to clarify that:
"Whenever copies are required to be given to a person under a statutory provision, or nonstatutory-rule or order made by the government, even if it be non-statutory, the document should be regarded as on which that person has a 'right to inspect'."
We agree with this recommendation in para 35.17 and this aspect is brought out in Explanation II, referred to hereinafter.
The 69th Report then refers to 'confidential documents' and (after referring to the conflicting Bombay, Calcutta and Allahabad decisions) observed that to deny copy of a document for inspection on the ground of confidential nature of the document, is not correct. In para 35.22 it was rightly pointed out that keeping a document confidential from others is different from keeping it confidential from the persons whom it concerns or affects. The Commission, in para 32.25 also referred to documents relating to affairs of the State which, in any event, the Court can peruse.
The 69th Report then recommended, in para 35.30 that the Explanation now contained in section 76 be numbered as Explanation 1 and that new Explanations 2 and 3 be added as follows:
"Explanation 2. For the purposes of this section, it is not necessary that the public should have a right to inspect the document and it is sufficient if the person demanding a copy has a right to inspect the document of which the copy is demanded.
Explanation 3. When a person has by a law a right to inspect a document or to a copy thereof, or where a rule or order made by the Government allows a copy to be given, this section applies, notwithstanding any provision of law requiring that the document should be treated as confidential in regard to other persons."
Explanation 3 purports to the clarification referred to above that a person who has a right to a copy has a right to inspect but the idea is not clearly brought out. The common law rule is also to be reflected. We agree that Explanation 2 be inserted as above but, Explanation 3 be modified as stated below.
"Explanation 3.- If a person has a right to obtain a copy of a document, he shall be deemed to have a right to inspect; and where a person has been conferred by any law , a right to inspect or a right to obtain a copy thereof or where a rule or order made by the Government allows a copy to be given, this section applies notwithstanding any provision of law requiring that the document shall be treated as confidential as regards other persons."