Is the PIO obliged to provide the information which is already in public domain?
The appellant sought the information about a company such as, the details of the statutory records and the name of the Directors of the company which are recorded in Registrar of Companies (ROC) from the date of registration to till date. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed the appellant that the status of the subject company is ‘Active’ and the information sought by him was already in the public domain. The PIO also informed the appellant that the relevant information could be obtained by inspecting the documents (under section 610 of the Companies Act, 1956) of the company maintained by ROC.
During the hearing, the respondent submitted that the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has devised a unique website www.mc.gov.in in which all the records of the companies are stored and exhibited. As such the information sought by the appellant is already in the public domain and the sought information can be accessed from the same. The respondent also cited a previous order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) [CIC/SM/2009/ 001883-AT, dated 11.11.2010] wherein the Commission has held that once the information is brought into the public domain, it is excluded from the purview of RTI Act.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) cited a previous order (Appeal No. CIC/AT/A/2007/00112 dated 12.4.2007) and rejected the appeal observing that the appellant is entitled to get the desired information under the provisions of section 610 of Companies Act, 1956, as the requested information is already available in public domain.
Citation: Mr. Asish Kumar Roy Chowdhury v. Office of the Registrar of Companies, in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2011/001559
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/484
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission