Disclosure of education details of employees under RTI can harm the commercial interest
The appellant sought information about a contract given to his brother, by the railways for construction of a new bridge across river Palar for the proposed new line between Tindivanam and Nagari. The Public Information Officer (PIO) gave a point wise reply to the applicant. He denied the copies of extension application submitted by the contractor, key personnel addresses and details of educational qualifications of personnel working for the contractor stating that the third party has objected to its disclosure. During the hearing, the representative of the third party submitted the documents demanded by the appellant and stated that they contain technical details of construction, the disclosure of which would reveal the technology being adopted by the firm and thus would adversely affect their position in the market. He further stated that the appellant has already managed to take away 6 to 7 workers of his firm who were highly qualified and that providing the educational qualifications of the personnel being employed by him (third party) for the construction of the bridge will only help the appellant to identify more skilled personnel working for his firm and tempt them with higher offers.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) held that the disclosure of the documents sought by the appellant may harm the competitive position of the third party in the market. Such information falls under the exemption category of 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. The Commission rejected the appeal stating that the disclosure of the information has no relation with any public activity or interest.
Citation: Mr. K. Ramesh v. Southern Railway in File No. CIC/AD/A/2012/001151
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/675
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