CIC directs Petroleum Ministry to disclose reasons for replacing ASG
The Petroleum Ministry’s move to reduce the supply of natural gas from the Reliance KG-D6 fields to non-core sectors was challenged by the Essar Steel in Delhi High Court. The Petroleum Ministry wrote a letter to the Law Ministry claiming that the then Additional Solicitor General AS Chandiok took a stand against its instructions as well as against the affidavit filed by the Petroleum Ministry before the High Court. The letter sought the law ministry to replace Chandiok in the Essar case. An application was filed with the Petroleum Ministry seeking to get the copies of communication with the Law Ministry and file notings in this regard.
The reply from the Petroleum Ministry stated that the letter from its Secretary to the Secretary, Law Ministry was "confidential" and pertained to a "sensitive issue". Hence the requested information could not be provided. As the matter was brought before the Central Information Commission (CIC), it held that a public authority can claim exemption only under Section 8 (1) of the RTI Act. Since the Petroleum Ministry has not explained how the disclosure of the demanded information could attract exemption under section 8 (1), it must furnish the sought information.