CIC: Respondents should ensure that their representatives are well prepared when appearing before it; date of commissioning of retail outlets to be provided, expenditure incurred is of commercial confidence & is held in a fiduciary capacity
Information regarding the date of commissioning of twenty outlets & the expenditure incurred for developing the premises was denied u/s 8(1)(d)& (e). CIC: the respondents should ensure that their representatives appearing for a hearing before the Commission are well prepared. The date of commissioning of the twenty retail outlets to be provided, rest information is of commercial confidence & is held in a fiduciary capacity, no larger public interest has been established, appeal rejected
1. This matter pertains to an RTI application dated 25.9.2013 filed by the Appellant, seeking information regarding the expenditure incurred by twenty retail outlets of the Respondents on developing their premises and the date of commissioning of the outlets in question. The information was denied by the Respondents under Section 8 (1) (d) and (e) of the RTI Act. Not satisfied with the response of the Respondents, the Appellant filed second appeal dated 21.2.2014 to the CIC, which was received by the Commission on 25.2.2014.
2. The Appellant submitted that the information has been wrongly denied to him. Shri Ashish Verma, who appeared on behalf of the Respondents, was not well prepared for the hearing. He first stated that the information has been provided to the Appellant. However, on being told that as per our records, it was denied under Section 8 (1) (d) and (e), he changed his stand and stated that the information has been denied. The Respondents should ensure in future that their representatives appearing for a hearing before the Commission are well prepared.
3. We have considered the records and the submissions made by the Appellant before us. As far as the information regarding the expenditure incurred by the owners of the outlets to develop their premises is concerned, it is a matter of commercial confidence for them. To the extent that information of this nature is available with the Respondents, it is held by them in a fiduciary relationship. No larger public interest has been established by the Appellant for disclosure of such information to him. Therefore, we uphold the decision of the Respondents to deny this information under Section 8 (1) (d) and (e) of the RTI Act. However, we direct the CPIO to provide to the Appellant the date of commissioning of the twenty retail outlets in question, within fifteen days of the receipt of this order, under intimation to the Commission. This information should be provided free of cost.
Citation: Shri Ram Avatar Singla v. Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd., in File No. CIC/SH/A/2014/000624