Information regarding the restructuring of disputed debts in New Tirupur Area Development Corporation Ltd (NTADCL) and the copies of letters written by the AIDQUA Holdings (Mauritius) to RBI were denied u/s 8(1)(d) & (e) - CIC: denial upheld
1.The appellant, Shri Prem Prakash Tiwari, submitted RTI application dated 5 July 2013 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Reserve Bank of India, Mumbai; seeking information regarding restructuring of disputed debts in a public limited company etc., through a total of 10 points.
2. Vide reply dated 26 July 2013, CPIO furnished point wise reply to the appellant. Not satisfied by the CPIO’s reply, the appellant preferred an appeal dated 8 August 2013 to the first appellate authority (FAA). Vide order dated 30 August 2013, FAA upheld the CPIO’s decision and also explained the same to the appellant.
3. Not satisfied with the response of the public authority, the appellant preferred second appeal before the Commission.
4. The matter was heard today. The appellant’s representative submitted that he had sought for information regarding the restructuring of disputed debts in a public limited company when there is prima facie evidence questioning the veracity of debts reflected in the financial statement of the company, guidelines to ensure transparency to prevent misuse, what action does RBI take if it comes to know of instances of misuse and on a host of other queries. During the hearing, the appellant’s representative stated that he wanted the copies of letters written by the AIDQUA Holdings (Mauritius) to RBI relating to New Tirupur Area Development Corporation Ltd (NTADCL).
5. The respondents submitted that they had already provided him information excepting third party information and where the information sought/queries made were in the nature of seeking an opinion formulated by the respondents on the interpretation of the circulars issued by the Reserve Bank of
India. The Commission had also held vide CIC/AT/A/2006/000045 dated April 21, 2006 : “The definition of information, as it occurs in Section 2(f), lays down the scope of the type of information a petitioner can seek. The underling idea is clearly that the petitioner’s entitlement for information is only in respect of the categories of information mentioned in Section 2(f). It is not open to any appellant to ask, in the guise of seeking information, questions to the public authorities about the nature and quality of their actions. The Act does not cast on the public authority any obligation to answer queries, as in this case, in which a petitioner attempts to elicit answers to his questions with prefixes, such as why, what, when and whether. The petitioner’s right extends only to seeking information as defined in Section 2 (f) either by pinpointing the file, document, paper or record, etc., or by mentioning the type of information as may be available with the specified public authority. He
can, for example, ask for all records pertaining to decision regarding amendments to and review of ILS rules, but not “why the Department of Legal Affairs did not amend/review the ILS rules so far ? ”, as has been done in some of the points by the appellant.
6. The respondents added that the information relating to AIDQUA Holdings (Mauritius) in the matter of corporate debt restructuring of NTADCL was exempt from disclosure in terms 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; and (e) of RTI Act, 2005. The appellant’s representative reiterated that his basic concern was the copies of correspondence which, however, could not be provided to him being third party information held by the public authority in commercial confidence and fiduciary capacity. The appellant did not contend any larger public interest in the matter.
7. The Commission upholds the decision of the CPIO/FAA. The appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Shri Prem Prakash Tiwari v. Reserve Bank of India in Appeal: No. CIC/VS/A/2013/001954/MP