File notings made by Naval authorities for issue of NOC by SSV Developers & Builders - CIC: it contains the specific concerns of Navy in view of the proximity of the upcoming building to the sensitive Naval installation; denial u/s 8(1)(a) was upheld
Vide RTI dt 5.3.13, appellant had sought copies of all notings made by Naval authorities on the application made by SSV Developers and Builders, dt 7.4.11 for issue of NOC.
2. PIO vide letter dt 12.3.13, informed appellant that the information sought was third party and asked appellant for the postal address of SSV Developers to process the RTI application as per Section 11(1). This was provided by the appellant vide letter dt 19.3.13. PIO vide letter dt 21.3.13, sought the views of SSV Developers who vide letter dt 30.3.13, observed that they had no objection to disclosure of information as the appellant was one of their partners.
3. PIO vide letter dt 15.5.13, informed appellant that as the matter is under litigation in the Bombay High Court, the required information is not being provided u/s 8(1)(e) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; .
4. An appeal was filed on 25.5.13 as no information was provided.
5. AA vide order dt 26.7.13, upheld the decision of the PIO.
6. Submissions made by the appellant and public authority were heard. Appellant submitted that the High Court case has since been finalized and the denial of information u/s 8(1)(e) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; is not tenable. He further submitted that they have a right to know the grounds on which the NOC had been denied so as to pursue the matter further. PIO submitted that the SSV Developers were involved in construction of a building in the vicinity of a sensitive Naval installation in Worli area. Naval authorities have denied the NOC on the grounds that it would impinge security. Moreover, it was pointed out that the SSV Developers had moved the Bombay High Court against the decision of the Naval authorities in denying the NOC and the court had accepted the plea of the Naval authorities and the decision of the High Court was in their favour.
7. The Commission is of the view that the file notings which are being sought contain the specific concerns of the Naval authorities in view of the proximity of the upcoming building to the sensitive Naval installation. Disclosure of such information would certainly compromise security and as such the information is denied u/s 8(1) (a) of the RTI Act. The appeal is disposed of.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri Jitendra J. Chheda v. HQ Western Naval Command, Mumbai in File No.CIC/LS/A/2013/001330/RM