Using RTI to elicit information for defending a case regarding a contract
A company was awarded a contract for exploration of hydro carbons which was later terminated due to certain reasons. The Director of the company sought copies of the Exploration Board’s decision supplemented with copy of the proposal submitted by the company persons. The Public Information Officer (PIO) refused to disclose the information 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 Right to Information (RTI) Act submitting that ONGC has prepared a negative list and the requested information falls in this category. He claimed that the information was of commercial confidence for ONGC and had been generated after spending a huge amount of money and resources. During the hearing, the appellant referred to a certain para from the representation given by the company and submitted that he simply wants to know whether that para was approved by the Exploration Board of ONGC or not.
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The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the appellant has managed to get a copy of the presentation informally from a source and armed with this information, he wants to upstage ONGC in the concerned judicial quasi judicial forum. The Commission rejected the appeal accepting the apprehension expressed by ONGC officers that disclosure of requested information would prejudice their case in the judicial/quasi forum
Citation: Shri R.C. Naithani v. ONGC in File No.CIC/LS/A/2011/003299 and File No.CIC/LS/A/2011/003693
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/369
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