Can progressive mine closure plan be disclosed under the RTI Act?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) seeking copies of progressive mine closure Plan submitted by Ashapura Mine Chem Ltd. in respect of Velas Sakhari Mine site. The Public Information Officer (PIO) referred to an earlier order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) and informed the appellant that the Progressive Mine Closure Plan is not part of the disclosable information of the Mining Plan and thus cannot be disclosed.
The appellant in his written submission filed before the Commission stated that reference to Ministry of Mines is not viewed as correct by some in the Ministry as well as by CIC in the earlier judgment and that this aspect should be resolved preferably by a full bench. The Central Information Commission (CIC) noted that their earlier order on the 13 appeals filed by Dr. D. Dhaya Devadas, Shri Milind B. Nijsure, Shri Ashok G. Naik, Shri R.Y. Kutumbe Vs. Indian Bureau of Mines has allowed following parts of the Mining Plan disclosable to the appellants – “(i) ‘General information’, and ‘Location and accessibility’ in Chapter 1 & 2 in Introductory Notes of the Mining Plan; (ii) ‘Mine Drainage’, ‘Skating of Mineral rejects and Disposal of waste’, ‘Use of Mineral’ and ‘Other information’ in Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 respectively of the Part ‘A’ of the Mining Plan; and (iii) ‘Environmental Management Plan’ in Chapter 11 of Part ‘B’ of the Mining Plan.”
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) rejected the appeal observing that the information sought by the appellant is not disclosable part of Mining Plan, and attracts the provisions of section 11(1), 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; and section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the RTI Act, 2005.
Citation: Mr. Milind Balwant Nijsure v. Indian Bureau of Mines in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2011/001573
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/694
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission