Commercial secrets can be disclosed under RTI only in larger public interest
The appellant sought the list of all cars insured by a particular division of Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., Kolkata in the year 2007 and 2008. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information under 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 Right to Information (RTI) Act. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) upheld the PIO’s order stating that the information sought amounted to ‘commercial secret’, disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of the Public Authority. During the hearing, the respondent also submitted that they do not maintain a list of cars that are insured by them as all references are through policy numbers only.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) rejected the appeal observing that information sought pertains to third party and the appellant has not shown any larger public interest in disclosure of the information. The Commission also accepted the submission of the respondent that they do not maintain a list of cars that are insured by them as all references are through policy numbers only.
Citation: Mr. Ashok R. Mansata v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. in Appeal No. CIC/DS/A/2011/001963
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/357
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission