Can amount of loan waived by a public authority be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Pondicherry Industrial Promotion Development & Investment Corporation Ltd (PIPDIC) seeking information regarding PIPDIC such as, the purpose for which the PIPDIC was created; whether it is a commercial organization or for promoting the welfare of the people in the State to start industries; whether it had waived or granted relief to the people with who obtained loan from it due to unfortunate financial circumstances and owing to sickness of the industry started by them and how much loan was waived year-wise so far. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided part information and denied the information related to the waiver of loans 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 the disclosure would harm the competitive position of a third party.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant stated that he had not sought the name of the individual or companies who have been granted waiver of loan or any other relief. He only wants to know whether any loan was waived or grant of relief to the people who obtained loan and if so how much loan was waived year-wise.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the respondent has only quoted commercial confidence as a reason for denial of information and has not explicitly explained how such disclosure will harm the competitive position of the third party. The appellant merely asked for the total year wise quantum of loan waived and not the details of the recipients of it, the exemption provision of section 8(1) (d) cannot be applied. The Commission directed the PIO to provide the required information on this to the appellant.
Citation: Mr. A. Pandurangan v. Pondicherry Industrial Promotion Development & Investment Corporation Ltd. in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2011/001688
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/860
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