Is Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) covered under RTI Act?
Antu P V had filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking information on the board meetings of Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL). When the matter came up before the Kerala State Information Commission (SIC) in second appeal, the SIC directed the CIAL to provide the information after applying severability by deletion issue those portions of the minutes which affect the intellectual property rights and security matters of the airport. As per Section 10 (1) of the RTI Act, “Where a request for access to information is rejected on the ground that it is in retaliation to information which is exempted from disclosure, then, notwithstanding anything contained in the Act, access may be provided to that part of the record which does not contain any information which is exempt from disclosure under this Act and which can reasonably to severed from any part that contains exempt information.”
In its order dated January 31, the SIC directed the CIAL to reveal the minutes of the board meetings pertaining to a certain period by April 5. The CIAL has contended before the Kerala High Court that it does not depend or receive any funding from the government of Kerala, and hence, it is not a ‘public authority’ as per the RTI Act. The CIAL also argued that the information is commercial and confidential in nature as it includes policy decisions, matters pertaining to financial, business, commercial, security, labour and other areas.
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