Inventory of the Bharat Gold Mines Ltd - Information should be disclosed if there is no express restriction imposed by the Court against such disclosure
1. In three separate RTI applications, the Appellant had sought a number of information, regarding
(a) the inventory of the BGML,
(b) the house allotted to G Perumal and
(c) the revenue collected from the Clubs and Kalyan Mandapams situated within the BGML premises.
The CPIO had provided some information in respect of (b) and (c) but nothing against (a) on the ground that it was exempt as per the provisions of section 8(1)(a), 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 section 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; of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Instead of filing an appeal in any of these cases, the Appellant has directly come to the CIC.
2. As far as the information regarding the inventory of the BGML is concerned, we had already heard this matter earlier on 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. February 2013 in the appeal number CIC/SS/A/2012/000608. We had directed the CPIO either to disclose a statement showing the inventory of the company or the copy of any direction received from the Company Court against the disclosure of such information. We understand that after receiving our direction, the CPIO has approached the Company Court seeking its permission to disclose the information. The Appellant contended that the CPIO had approached the Company Court only to by- pass the order of the CIC and in order to avoid disclosing the information.
3. After carefully considering the facts of the case and the submissions made during the hearing, we are of the view that, as far as the information regarding the inventory of the BGML is concerned, the CPIO must disclose the information if there is no express restriction imposed by the Company Court or any other court against such disclosure. Under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, no information can be with -held from the information seeker unless it is expressly exempted under the provisions of that Act or by the order of any competent court. Keeping this in view, we direct the CPIO to send the information to the Appellant within 10 working days of receiving this order provided there is no direction from the Company Court or any other competent court not to disclose this information. Regarding the remaining two items of information, we direct the CPIO to write to the Appellant within 15 working days of receiving this order and to inform him in greater detail
(i) the list of all the Trusts, Clubs and Kalyan Mandapams which might have been leased out land or buildings within the premises of the BGML, the details of the terms and conditions of such lease and the revenue collected from those every month/year including any arrears, if any, pending against any of them; and
(ii) the photocopy of the entire file in which a specific quarter had been allotted to A Babu.
4. The appeals are disposed off accordingly.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Sh. G Jayakumar v. Bharat Gold Mines Limited in File No.CIC/SM/C/2013/000201, 236 & 308