Marina Machneva, a citizen, complained to the head of St. Petersburg City Department of the Federal Bailiff Service about actions of officials of a subordinate district department. As a result of her complaints several administrative inspections were undertaken and some district officials were subjected to disciplinary measures. After receiving a letter notifying her about these actions, Ms. Machneva asked the department to provide her with the inspection materials, including resolutions on the results of internal office inspections held in the administration of the St. Petersburg City Department as well as written statements of the inspected officials. The department refused to provide the documents, explaining that administrative inspection materials are confidential and should not be provided to third parties.
The Court stated that, according to the Constitution and the RTI law, (1) government bodies must guarantee the possibility for everyone to have access to materials that affect their rights, and (2) there is a constitutional right to seek and receive information without hindrance. The court concluded that Ms. Machneva was entitled to those parts of the requested files that did not contain personal information because she had a right to know details of actions that were taken as a result of her official complaint.
This case is one of the first in Russia in which a citizen successfully defended her right to access information concerning the administrative review of a complaint she had filed. Moreover, the court made clear that, if materials included personal data, the applicant was nonetheless entitled to part of the information, assuming that personal information could be segregated from the non-personal information.
Judgment of the Court.