Does disclosure of statistical information affect the competitive position of public authority?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) seeking information about how many contractors are there at BSNL Noida who are providing computer operators, data entry operator, counter operator, broadband operator etc. with their complete detail with address and telephone number as well as their salary structure. The appellant also wanted to know the reasons for not giving minimum wages to the contract workers as declared by Government of India etc. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided some information.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that the desired information could not be furnished as it relates to the commercial confidence of BSNL and would harm its competitive position. The Commission asked the respondent as to how any information of general/ statistical nature like number contractors/ their workers, whether minimum wages are being paid to them as per Government of India guidelines etc. could harm the competitive position. The respondent agreed to provide para-wise information except that which relates to the “personal information” of third party. He pointed out that information like the name and address of each contract worker is personal in nature and would require compilation which will disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority as there are hundreds of such workers who frequently get changed by the contractors.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) directed the PIO to provide the information to the appellant except that which related to the personal information of third party and would disproportionately divert the resources of the public authority.
Citation: Mr. Raj Kumar Sharma v. BSNL in File No. CIC/BS/A/2012/000292/2206
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1261
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