Entire record of case file in the matter of a Life Insurance Company was denied u/s 8(1)(d) stating that the information was of commercial confidence, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of the third party - CIC: appeal dismissed
1. The appellant, Shri B.S. Makar submitted RTI application dated 23.04.2014 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (IRDA), Hyderabad, seeking entire record of case file in the matter of M/s. Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co. Ltd. where IRDA had passed order vide its reference No. IRDA/LIFE/ORD/MISC/169/08/2013, including noting, notices, petition, reply, written statement, summons, appearances, public notices, if any, record of deposition of penalty passed; details whether penalty imposed on Bajaj Allianz was deposited in the account of policyholders on two points.
2. The CPIO vide letter dated 12.05.2014 informed the appellant in response to point 1 that the information was of commercial confidence, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of the third party. Further there was no larger public interest involved for the disclosure of the same. Hence the same was exempt under the provisions 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 final order was available on IRDA’s website; in response to point 2 the appellant was informed that the insurer had deposited the penalty amount as per the order to IRDA. Dissatisfied with the replies of the respective CPIOs, the appellant filed an appeal on 20.05.2014 before the first appellate authority (FAA). The FAA vide order dated 23.06.2014 dismissed the appeal as infructuous on the grounds that the appellant through his earlier RTI application dated 6.12.2013 sought similar information on which the CPIO had passed similar order dated 2.1.2014. The FAA suggested the appellant that he should refrain from filing the same applications/appeals with the public authority, as the valuable time and resources of the public authority was spent on avoidable work.
3. Thereafter the appellant filed the instant appeal before the Commission.
4. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant stated that Bajaj Allianz had committed several illegalities while issuing the insurance policies as well as other affairs whereby a huge amount was embezzled by duping the policyholders as well as the public authority. He sought information with regard to the order passed by the IRDA in the matter of M/s. Bajaj Allianz and its related documents which were denied under the provisions of Section 8(1) (d) of the RTI Act. The respondents stated that the entire record of the case file was built upon the onsite inspection of the IRDA carried out on the insurer M/s. Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Co. Ltd. Inspection report, submission made by the insurer on the inspection report, examination of the submissions of the insurer by the IRDA, submission of the insurer during personal hearing and the final order passed by IRDA on the matter. The entire process was carried out at various stages of the proceedings and finally culminated in passing final orders. The above proceedings potentially involve information of commercial confidence, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of the insurer. The final order of IRDA in this regard had already been provided to the appellant. The remaining information as sought ‘en masse’ by the appellant was of commercial confidence which is exempt u/s 8(1) (d) of the RTI Act.
5. Having considered the submissions of the parties, the Commission holds that the respondents had provided point-wise reply to the appellant and the RTI queries had been adequately replied to by the respondents. No intervention on the part of the Commission is called for. The appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Shri B.S. Makar v. Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority in Appeal: No. CIC/MP/A/2014/001343