Are the details of VAS providers of BSNL disclosable under RTI?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) seeking information such as, names, address and contact numbers of the companies who have contract with BSNL for providing services to the customer; are they appointed to provide the services without the customers consent; are you authorized to deduct the money from customers account; how much time you need to attend a complaint when lodged for not requesting the service? He also wanted a copy of letter of authorization to the service providers and the penalties leviable on the service providers. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided part information but denied the details of names, address and contact numbers of the companies and letter of authorization under section 8(1)(d) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; of the RTI Act stating that this information is related to company’s commercial activities.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant stated that he wanted the contact number and address of value added service (VAS) providers of BSNL as these service providers many times without the consent of the subscriber activate unwanted services which result in huge bills. The PIO was unable to give any reasonable justification to support the denial and agreed to furnish the information. The appellant further stated that names address and contact number of officers with whom complaints can be lodged for redressal of grievance are not displayed in most of the offices of BSNL due to which the subscriber has to run from pillar to post to register his complaint.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) directed the PIO furnish the information to the appellant. The CIC also advised BSNL to ensure that names, designation and other particulars of officers with whom complaints could be lodged were displayed at each of its office.
Citation: Mr. K. Raghunadha Rao v. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. in File No. CIC/LS/A/2011/004018/BS/0777
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/757
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission