Revenue shared between BSNL and SONY TV from SMSs sent for participating in KBC Contest - Appellant: information is of interest to the general public who send such SMSs for which they are charged a higher fee - CIC: exemption u/s 8(1)(d) upheld
I am a subscriber of BSNL mobile services holding mobile no. 9479265008. I have used my mobile to send two SMSs on 3rd & 4th June 2011 to No 5252525. Please arrange to provide following information:
I. What is the normal rate for an SMS on a BSNL mobile?
II. Why I have been charged Rs. 5/- (Rs. Five only) each for the two SMS sent by me to No 5252525?
III. Who is the recipient of these SMS?
IV. Has BSNL retain entire amount of Rs. 5/- (Rs. Five only) charged to me for SMSs sent to No 5252525?
V. If BSNL has not retained entire amount of Rs. 5/- (Rs. Five only) charged to me for a single SMS, then with whom this amount has been shared?
VI. If the amount charged to SSNL customers for sending SMSs to No 5252525 is shared with any other entity then please inform what amount is retained by BSNL and what amount is passed on to such entity?
VII. Please inform total number of SMSs sent through BSNL Chhattisgarh Circle to number 5252525 from 29th May 2011 to date?
VIII. Please inform total amount retained by BSNL in respect of all such SMSs sent to No 5252525 from 29th May 2011 to date?
IX. Please inform total amount remitted/passed on by BSNL to owner of No 525252$ in respect of all such SMSs sent to No 5252525 from 29th May 2011 to date?
X. Please inform identity of owners of recipient number 5252525 with Full Name, Full address, phone number, fax numbers and email address.
XI. Please inform if a BSNI customer is pre-warned about excessive charge in respect of SMS sent to number 5252525 before an SMS is sent by him.
Grounds for the Second Appeal: The PIO has not given the satisfactory information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing: The following were present
Appellant: Mr. Lalit Wadher through VC
Respondent: Ms. Jyotsna Ekka CPIO through VC
The appellant stated that he has not been provided the information regarding the revenue shared between BSNL and SONY TV from the SMSs sent by him for participating in KBC Contest. The CPIO argued that the information is of commercial confidence and if disclosed would harm the competitive position of BSNL and hence exempt under 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; of the RTI Act. The appellant stated that BSNL is a public authority and the information is of interest to the general public who send a large number of such SMSs for which they are charged a higher fee. The CPIO stated that though BSNL is a public authority it is also a commercial entity and the fee for this service is transparently displayed on the T. V. screen and the subscriber is made well aware of the same. The appellant countered stating that he has a large 42” TV and it is difficult for him to view the prescribed fee and the general public who have smaller TVs may not become aware of the charges at all. The CPIO stated that the contract is available with their corporate office and she will inform the appellant the relevant clause(s) regarding the displaying of fee.
As stated by the CPIO she should furnish the relevant clause(s) in the agreement regarding ‘display of fee’ within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order. As regards the information regarding sharing of fees between BSNL and SONY TV the Commission upholds the submissions of the CPIO.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly. This decision is announced in open chamber. Notice of this decision be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Mr. Lalit Wadher v. BSNL in File No.CIC/BS/A/2012/000413/2309