Seeking copy of the contract for broadcasting “Satyameva Jayate” on Doordarshan through RTI
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Prasar Bharati seeking copies of all the contracts agreements, correspondence, file noting in respect of the broadcasting of a program called “Satyameva Jayate” by the Doordarshan. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information under 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 RTI Act stating that it was held in fiduciary capacity. Later, he provided the copies of the MoU and the file noting relating to this particular programme.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that it was not the MoU but the agreement signed between the parties that he wanted. The respondent clarified that no such agreement had been signed and the entire transaction in the case between the parties was based on the MoU only.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that the entire information as desired has been provided. The Commission also ruled that in all such cases where copies of the agreement and other details of any contract between a public authority and another party are sought, the desired document should be disclosed. Such documents can be denied only if they contain any information related to commercial confidence or intellectual property. The CIC also held that such records should be placed in the public domain in order to promote greater transparency in all commercial transactions undertaken by the government or government agencies.
The PIO should issue notice to the third party and take the views of the third party into account before taking any decision.
Citation: Mr. Aseem Takyar v. Prasar Bharati, Directorate General Doordarshan in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001575