Copy of advice sent by a college to a bank branch was denied u/s 8(1)(d) - appellant stated that there were certain irregularities regarding disbursement of subsidy of Rs. 26,04,700 to staff - CIC: provide the information in public interest
O R D E R
1. The appellant filed an RTI application with the PIO on 1.10.2012 seeking copy of the advice sent by a college to a bank branch. The CPIO denied the information on 13.10.2012 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 RTI Act 2005.
2. Not satisfied with the reply of the PIO, the appellant filed an appeal on 19.10.2012 with the first appellate authority (FAA).The FAA upheld the reply of CPIO on 31.10.2012. The appellant approached the Commission on 7.12.2012 in second appeal.
3. The appellant participated in the hearing through video conferencing. The respondent did not participate.
4. The appellant referred to his RTI application of 1.10.2012 and stated that he had sought a single point of information, i.e., a copy of the advice sent to the bank by the college named in the RTI application. The appellant said that the bank has taken a technical ground, without application of mind, to deny him the information, which he is seeking in public interest.
5. The appellant stated that he has knowledge of certain irregularities which have occurred in connection with the subsidy amount given by the Government to the college to be distributed between the teaching and nonteaching staff of the college. The appellant stated that the amount of subsidy involved was Rs. 26,04,700/- and that this subsidy, which pertained to the year 2009, was received by the college on 8.12.2011.
6. The appellant stated that he wanted a copy of the advice in public interest to unearth the true facts, as irregularities had occurred. The appellant stated that this amount has been used to benefit such people who were not eligible, while at the same time, depriving other people who should have got this benefit. The appellant said that the papers of this advice and the file is also missing from the college which only raises suspicion of the irregularities having been committed. The appellant also pointed out that the respondent is not even present in the hearing today.
7. In the light of the hearing, the information being sought by the appellant in the RTI application should be provided. This is a case where public interest in disclosure outweighs the consideration for the protected interests.
8. The respondent is directed to provide to the appellant the information sought by him in the RTI application within 30 days of this order. The appeal is disposed of. Copy of the decision be given free of cost to both the parties.
Citation: Shri Sadanand Prasad v. United Commercial Bank in Decision No. CIC/VS/A/2013/000171/05468