CIC: Since the information sought is the subject matter of an arbitration between the Respondents & a third party under the orders of the High Court of Delhi and the Appellant is not a party to it, denial of information by PIO upheld
This matter pertains to an RTI application dated 17.9.2012 filed by the Appellant, seeking all records, correspondence, documents, memos, opinions, advices, reports, note sheets and data/material held in electronic form etc for the period 15.1.2004 to 10.11.2009, pertaining to a purchase order of 19861987 in respect of Fire Protection System for 2x67.5 MW DVP Rajghat TPS. Not satisfied with the response of the Respondents, the Appellant approached the CIC in second appeal on 11.4.2013.
2. We heard the submissions of the Appellant and the Respondents. The Appellant stated that the information sought by him has not been provided. He also submitted that the Respondents were wrong in denying him the information on the ground that the queries raised by him did not fall within the purview of “information” as defined under Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act.
3. The Respondents submitted that the Appellant had not explicitly specified the information required by him. No details such as the specific documents required were provided. In the above context, we are of the view that while the Appellant did ask for all the records concerning the purchase order in question for the period 15.1.2004 to 10.11.2009, which would add up to a good deal of information, the Respondents erred in concluding that the information sought by him did not fall within the purview of “information” as defined under Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act. We, therefore, asked the Respondents whether they were in a position to allow the Appellant to inspect the relevant records. They submitted that the matter concerning the purchase order in question is under arbitration in terms of an order passed by the High Court of Delhi. They further submitted that in view of the above and the fact that the purchase order involved a transaction between the Respondents and a third party, they were not in a position to provide access to the relevant records to the Appellant, particularly since he does not have any link to the purchase order. In response to our query, the Appellant stated that he was not aware of the arbitration proceedings and had sought information as a citizen. The Respondents also brought to our attention the CIC orders No. CIC/WB/A/2007/01650 dated 12.6.2009 and No. CIC/SS/A/2011/001240 dated 16.12.2011, in which the Commission had refrained from disclosing information in cases which were under arbitration.
4. We have considered the records and the submissions made by both the parties before us. Since the information sought by the Appellant is the subject matter of an arbitration between the Respondents and a third party under the orders of the High Court of Delhi and the Appellant is not a party to the said arbitration proceedings, we would refrain from directing the Respondents to provide any information to the Appellant.
5. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
6. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Sharad K Sanghvi v. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., in File No. CIC/SS/A/2013/001247/SH