BATL is a public authority - Kerala SIC
The Kerala State Information Commission (SIC) has ruled that BrahMos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd (BATL) comes under the scope of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and has instructed it to appoint a Public Information Officer (PIO).
J Udaya Bhanu had filed a complaint as he was denied information by the BATL management on the grounds that the company did not fall within the range of the Act. The Commission while hearing the complaint ruled that the BATL is registered under the Companies Act but majority of its assets and funds are derived from the Kerala Government.
BATL management had claimed that it was not an NGO rather is a subsidiary of a joint venture of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of the Ministry of Defence and the Russian Federation so it was not a Public Authority as defined by Section 2(h) “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted (a) by or under the Constitution; (b) by any other law made by Parliament; (c) by any other law made by State Legislature; (d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any- (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government; of the RTI Act.
Commission had noted that “BATL was formed in 2007 by a ‘hand-over’ of the State Government-run Kerala Hi-Tech Industries Ltd (KELTEC) for manufacturing the Indo-Russian BrahMos cruise missiles. Studying the conditions of the take-over, the Commission has concluded that “substantial interest” of the State Government was still intact in the company.No land assignment has been authorised under the Land Assignment Act. Hence the land of the BATL is virtually owned by the Government of Kerala even today”.