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DATE WITH RTI

Proof of payment

Proof of payment made by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. against certain invoices raised by Supreme Advertising Private Limited was sought. The information sought relates to Petrotech-2016. The information is not available with IOCL, as all the records pertaining to the event were handed over to Federation of Indian Petroleum Industries (FIPI) after closing of Petrotech-2016. The PIO informed the CIC that all the payments, as raised by M/s. Supreme Advertising Private Limited for the work executed during the period related to Petrotech-2016, have been paid and there are no dues left on this account. However, the copies of documentary evidences in this regard cannot be provided, as the same is not available with IOCL. The CIC observed that the appellant is seeking information in his individual capacity from the IOCL regarding M/s. Supreme Advertising Private Limited. The appellant is clearly seeking the commercial information which pertains to third party and the appellant is not the authorized representative of SAPL to whom the information can be disclosed. The appellant had raised grievance with respect to some dispute of payment with SAPL (which is not a public authority). The information sought is of commercial nature between IOCL and SAPL. Nonetheless, the respondent has given the factual information to the appellant inspite of being third party information. The Commission further held that the information sought by the appellant in his RTI application is exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)(d) read with Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of third party.

Comments

It is not clear from the order whether the Hon’ble CIC had tried to verify whether the appellant was a representative of M/s. Supreme Advertising Private Limited before denying the information under Section 8(1)(d) read with Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act. The CIC has erred by not looking into the reasons why IOCL had already provided some information to the appellant despite being third party information. Further, the order does not mention who was supposed to hold the documents sought by the appellant, if at all they were to be retained.

Citation: Rohit Yajnik v. Indian Oil Corporation Limited in Second Appeal No. CIC/IOCLD/A/2019/118452, Date: 25-01-2021

Dr. Anuradha Verma (dranuradhaverma@yahoo.co.in) is an expert on RTI matters and has co-authored the books RIGHT TO INFORMATION - LAW AND PRACTICE and PIO’s guide to RTI. Apart from her weekly article here, her other articles can be read at the website of RTI Foundation of India at the link: www.rtifoundationofindia.com

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