HC: Mangalore SEZ is a public authority under RTI
Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar of the Karnataka High Court has ruled that the Mangalore Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Ltd is a public authority as per the Right to Information Act (RTI) Act and is bound to provide information to an applicant who files an application under it.
On a complaint by B.S. Karunkar against denial of information by Mangalore SEZ, the Karnataka SIC had imposed a penalty of Rs. 5,000/- on the then the Chief Executive Officer of Mangalore SEZ, Mr. A.G. Pai. The Mangalore SEZ approached the High Court against the Karnataka SIC order taking a plea that it was a private company. 49.56 per cent of the stake in Mangalore SEZ comes from Government-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, ONGC Mangalore Petro Chemicals Limited and Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB). The HC ruled that Mangalore SEZ Limited, Mangalore can be classified as a 'public authority' and Non-Government Organisation which is substantially financed directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government.
The Karnataka High Court dismissed the plea of Mangalore SEZ’s and upheld the order of the Karnataka State Information Commission (SIC) that Mangalore SEZ should respond to RTI applications. The HC relied on the 2010 judgment Bangalore International Airport Limited vs. Karnataka Information Commission and others.