Can a Public authority seek information about Pantaloon (third party) under section 11 of RTI Act?
The appellant sought information related to Pantaloon Retails (India) Ltd. vide five separate Right to Information (RTI) applications. He also cited number of documents and requested the Public Information Officer (PIO) to follow third party procedure and provide certain information. The PIO, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) provided the information which was in the possession of the SEBI, relating to the action taken by them on his complaints and informed the appellant that rest of the desired information was not held by the SEBI nor was it required to be filed by the company concerned.
During the hearing, the PIO clarified that much of the other information sought by the appellant would have to be sourced from the private company which was beyond the scope of the responsibility cast on the PIO under the RTI Act.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the appellant had some misconception about the third party procedure provided in section 11 of the RTI Act as he was under the impression that if the public authority does not possess the information as desired, it should be access from the third party concerned and provide the information. A public authority has a responsibility to provide whatever information it has in its possession excepting those exempt under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Commission also held that as per the definition of information under section 2 (f) of the RTI Act, a public authority can access information only under any law for the time being in force. The SEBI cannot be expected to get information from private entities for which it is not empowered under any particular enactment. The Commission dismissed the appeal stating that the desired information did not exist with the SEBI and could only be accessed from the private company concerned.
Citation: Mr. Dhanraj Bagrecha v. Securities and Exchange Board of India in File No.CIC/SM/C/2011/001543, CIC/SM/A/2011/002172, 2737, 2738 & CIC/SM/A/2012/000004
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/459
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