Are the details of the Vendor exempt as commercial information under the RTI Act?
The Appellant sought copies of all guidelines/circulars/office orders of M/s Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Limited (CMPDIL) /CIL fixing the norms for registering any firm in the vendor list of CMPDIL. He also requested for information such as copy of application for vendor registration submitted by a particular vendor, the name and designation of the competent authority that approved registration and copies of the documents relied upon by the approving authority etc. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed that the website of CMPDI contains the norms for registering any firm in the vendor list of CMPDIL. The information relating to the vendor was denied under section 8(1) (d) of the RTI Act on the grounds that information sought would harm the competitive position of the third party.
View of CIC
During the hearing, the appellant submitted that the documents available on the website is only regarding procedure for filing applications for vendor registration but there is no information on the website about the guidelines and criteria for registering/ considering the vendor eligible for registration in the vendor list of CMPDIL. The Commission directed the respondent to provide the appellant with copies of guidelines, circulars and office orders of CMPDIL regarding the procedure for making applications for vendor registration and the guidelines, criteria etc. of the company for registration in the vendor list of CMPDIL and the methodology adopted for verification of documents/information. The PIO was also directed to supply copies of notings approving the vendor registration. The Commission further held that the documents of the particular vendor being third party information, have been rightfully denied under section 8(1) (d) of the RTI Act. The Commission took a serious view of the absence of respondent during the hearing.
The PIO’s should ensure their presence during the hearing lest any stricture be passed against them.
Citation: Shri B.K.Gupta v. Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Limited in file no. CIC/SS/A/2011/001190
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/150
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