Can the valuation report of a company’s assets be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant filed two applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Official Liquidator, High Court seeking information in respect of a particular company. He wanted the details of proceedings, action initiated and also the follow up by the official liquidator including name of debtors and transactions regarding details of debtor’s with the status of each Director, proceedings, outstanding claims and details of other claimants etc. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed the appellant that since the information requested was voluminous, he could visit the office of the PIO to inspect the files and collect the copies of documents required after remitting requisite fee, as per the provisions of the RTI Act. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) directed the PIO to issue 85 pages of documents to the appellant after collecting requisite fee of Rs.170/-. The appellant enclosed a D.D. of Rs.200/- instead of Rs. 170/-. The PIO sent 85 pages of documents.
During the hearing the before Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent stated that the winding up of the said company in liquidation was ordered by the Honourable High Court. The court had appointed the Official Liquidator as Liquidator of the company with directions to take over all the assets and effects of the company. The appellant stated that this was done with the intention to ensure issuance of copies of Valuation Report received from the company for its assets and effects. The FAA submitted that the balance amount of Rs. 30/- lying with credit of the public authority is being returned to the appellant. The FAA referred the Commission’s further decision (case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/001519) wherein it was held that Valuation Report maintained in the office of the Official Liquidator is a commercial secret document in terms of 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.
View of CIC
The Commission ruled that the respondent have no disclosure obligation with respect to the valuation report which includes information in the nature of commercial confidence and the appellant has not established any larger public interest for its disclosure.
Citation: Mr. C.P. Paul v. Official Liquidator, High Court, Madras in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2012/002867, No. CIC/SS/A/2012/003349
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1437
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