Information regarding FDI and letter by MP questioning the suitability of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh
The appellant filed applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) seeking details about the discussion between the Prime Minister (PM) of India and the President of the United States of America (USA) on the subject of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) during the 19th ASEAN Summit in Bali and the letter written by MP to the Prime Minister questioning the suitability of Lieutenant General Bikram Singh. The Public Information Officer (PIO) declined the information citing exemption provisions of the RTI Act. Regarding the letter written by the MP, he informed the appellant that the procedure prescribed in section 11 of the RTI Act was followed and the information was denied on the demand of the MP concerned.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant argued that the exemption cited by the PIO for denying the details of the discussion supposedly held between the Prime Minister and the US President would not be attracted in this case. Regarding the letter, he submitted that if the PIO had the intentions of disclosing the information, he need not have been influenced by the demand of the third party MP and should have disclosed the letter. The respondent submitted that the information regarding the supposed exchange of views between the Prime Minister and the US President could not be disclosed because the disclosure of this information would have adverse effect on India's relationship with foreign countries. He also submitted that the letter was not disclosed because the MP concerned claimed that he had sent the letter confidentially and did not want it to be disclosed.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that that the appellant had sought information only about the discussion relating to FDI and if there is any such record in existence showing any discussion on this particular subject only then the PIO has to consider if the same should be disclosed or not depending on the contents of the documents and subject to the various exemption provisions given in the RTI Act. The CIC directed the PIO to revisit the case and inform the appellant suitably. The Commission perused the letter written by the MP questioning the suitability of Lieutenant General Bikram Singh and held that it did not show anywhere that the MP had treated the contents of that letter to be confidential. Therefore there was no obligation on the part of the PIO to consult him because the letter written by him was not covered under section 11. The Commission directed the PIO to provide a copy of this letter to the appellant.
Citation: Mr. Aseem Takyar v. Prime Minister’s Office in File No.CIC/SM/A/2012/000695, 1199, 1369 & 1413
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/865
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission