Number of advocates empanelled by PNB, criteria for selection, governing body for selecting advocates, legal work assigned & schedule of payments was sought - CIC: respondents were unable to justify that the information constitutes commercial confidence
1. The appellant, Shri Ram Kumar Vasesi, submitted RTI application dated 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. July 2013 before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Punjab National Bank, Chandigarh seeking information regarding empanelment of Advocates by Punjab National Bank, through a total of 7 points.
2. Vide reply dated 2 August 2013, CPIO provided the information to the appellant on point 1 & 2 with respect to copy of his application dated 14.3.2013 regarding empanelment of advocates and action taken on his application. For points 3 to 7 regarding number of advocates empanelled by them during 2012-2013, list of advocates on the panel of the bank, criteria for selection, governing body for selecting advocates and schedule of legal payments made to the advocate and legal work assigned etc. the CPIO replied that these were queries. Not satisfied by the CPIO’s reply, the appellant preferred an appeal dated 29 August 2013 to the first appellate authority (FAA) alleging that the CPIO had failed to provide information sought by him. Vide order dated 24 September 2013, the FAA furnished point wise reply to the appellant.
3. Dissatisfied with the response of the public authority, the appellant preferred appeal before the Commission.
4. The matter was heard by the Commission. The appellant submitted that he had sought information on seven points on empanelment of advocates but the respondents had furnished incomplete information to him and also denied information on some points. The respondents contended that the information involved commercial confidence and therefore could not be given. However the respondents were unable to justify that the requisite information constitutes commercial confidence with respect to points 3 and 4 of the RTI application.
5. In view of the above, the Commission directs the respondents to provide number of advocates empanelled during 201 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. 013 and names of advocates on the list of respondent bank within three days of the receipt of this order. The appeal is disposed of.
Citation: Shri Ram Kumar Vasesi v. Punjab National Bank in Appeal: No. CIC/MP/A/2014/000445