Copy of the file and correspondence regarding tie up between bank & M/s Mahindra & Mahindra regarding vehicle finance was denied claiming that information was a matter of commercial confidence and could not be disclosed - CIC: denial u/s 8(1)(d) upheld
This matter pertains to an RTI application dated 11.11.2012 filed by the Appellant, seeking information on five points regarding tie up between the Respondent Bank and M/s Mahindra & Mahindra to provide vehicle finance. The CPIO responded on 13.12.2012. He provided information on points No. 3,4 and 5. However, he denied information on points no. 1 and 2 of the RTI application under Section 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act. Not satisfied with the reply of the CPIO, the Appellant filed an appeal to the First Appellate Authority on 4.1.2013. In his order dated 16.2.2013, the FAA upheld the CPIO’s reply. The Appellant approached the CIC in second appeal on 23.4.2013.
2. We heard the submissions of the Appellant and the Respondents. The Appellant submitted that he should be provided information in response to queries No. 1 and 2. In this context, we note that query No. 1 sought a copy of the tie up between the bank and M/s Mahindra & Mahindra. Query No. 2 sought copies of the file and correspondence concerning the above mentioned tie up. The Respondents stated that the above information was a matter of the commercial confidence and could not be disclosed. The Appellant, on the other hand, submitted that a larger public interest was involved in this case as a public sector bank had entered into an arrangement with a private company and the public ought to know the details of the arrangement and why such an arrangement was entered into with M/s Mahindra & Mahindra and not with other parties. The Respondents stated that besides the arrangement with M/s Mahindra & Mahindra, they had entered into similar arrangements with some other companies also. However, they reiterated that the information sought by the Appellant was a matter of commercial confidence and could not be revealed. In the above context, we also note that if the mere conclusion of a tie up between a public sector bank and a private company were to become a ground for disclosure of information, it would warrant disclosure of information in the case of all transactions and tie ups between public sector banks and private companies. This is certainly not the intention of the RTI Act. No larger public interest has been established in this case. Therefore, we would not interfere with the decision of the Respondents to deny information on points no. 1 and 2 of the RTI
3. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
4. Copies of this order be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Sh. Harinder Dhingra v. Oriental Bank of Commerce in File No. CIC/VS/A/2013/000668