Details of payment made under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act from 1.1.2012 to 31.7.2012 were denied u/s 8(1)(d) & (j) - CIC: it is third party information & may not be disclosed in the absence of any larger public interest
1. The appellant, Shri Sanjeev Kumar Jain, submitted RTI application dated 28 August 2012 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), State Bank of India, Kolaras; seeking information regarding details of payment made under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) from 1.1.2012 to 31.7.2012.
2. Vide reply dated 8 September 2011, CPIO denied the information u/s 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; & (j) of the RTI Act, 2005. Not satisfied with the CPIO’s reply, the appellant preferred appeal dated 17 September 2011 to the first appellate authority (FAA) saying that he had been wrongly denied information by the CPIO concerned. Vide order dated 20 October 2011, FAA directed the CPIO to furnish requested information by severing the name and A/c nos. of the beneficiaries whom the payment had been made under Employment Guarantee Scheme within 15 days. In compliance of the above stated FAA’s order; vide letter dated 21.11.2012, CPIO furnished the information to the appellant.
3. Not satisfied with the response of the public authority, the appellant preferred second appeal before the Madhya Pradesh Information Commission, which returned the 2nd appeal to the appellant with the advice to approach the appropriate forum i.e. Central Information Commission. Consequently, appellant approached this Commission.
4. The matter was heard today via videoconferencing. Shri Arvind Kumar Jain represented the appellant and made submissions from Shivpuri and provided copy of authority letter to the CPIO. The respondents, Shri Dinkargal, CPIO/Regional Manager, made submissions from Shivpuri. Shri S.K. Bhattacharya representing FAA made submissions from Bhopal.
5. Shri Jain submitted that the information was sought regarding the payment made to the bank’s customers/workers under the NREGA scheme of the Government for the period 1.1.2012 to 31.7.2012. 6. The CPIO submitted that the information regarding the total payments made week wise has been disclosed. However, name of the workers and account numbers and amount paid to the individual workers may not be disclosed being third party information as it attracts Section 8 (1)(j) of the RTI Act, 2005. Further information sought involves 65 panchayats and is voluminous in nature.
7. The Commission upholds the CPIO’s order that information sought is third party information and may not be disclosed in the absence of any larger public interest. Hence, the appeal is dismissed. The appellant may approach the appropriate forum for the redressal of his grievance, if any.
Citation: Shri Sanjeev Kumar Jain v. State Bank of India in Appeal: No. CIC/VS/A/2013/001559/MP