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Whether Private Entities Are Covered Under the RTI Act - An Argument, A Point of View


Sunil Ahya

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The common misconception that has taken root presently is that only entities and organizations which are substantially aided or funded by the Government are covered under the RTI Act.

 

But the fact is that Private Entities are covered under the RTI Act irrespective of whether they are substantially aided or funded by the Government.

 

1) Private Entities are not covered under sec 2(a) of the Act:

 

Sec 2(a) "appropriate Government" means in relation to a public authority which is established, constituted, owned, controlled or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly—

(i) by the Central Government or the Union territory administration, the Central Government;

(ii) by the State Government, the State Government;

 

But Private Entities are covered under section 2(f) of the Act:

 

Sec. 2(f) "information" means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force;

Also section 8 (j) is relevant here:

Section 8 (j): Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person.

 

To Summarize the argument / point of view:

 

1) Private Entities are not covered under sec. 2 (a) of the act.

2) Private Entities are covered under sec. 2 (f) of the act.

3) With reference to sec 8 (j) of the act one can resonably infer and conclude: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Public Authority with which the Private Entity is registered shall not be denied to any person.

 

Hence Private Entities are covered under the RTI Act through the Public Authority with which they are registered e.g. For Co-operative Society : Deputy Registrar of Co-op. Sty's, for Banks - RBI etc, you will need to find out with which Public Authority the Private Entity has registered themselves.

 

Please file your RTI applications to the Public Authorities, who in turn should forward your application/ queries to the concerned Private Entity and get the information for you.

 

This virtually brings every one under the ambit of RTI Act.

8 Comments


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taurus

Posted (edited)

1) Of course exemptions to information under sec.8 or sec.9 of the RTI act does apply irrespective of whether an entity is covered under sec 2 (a) or 2 (h) of the act.

 

2) It remains to be explored as to what all information a Public Authority can access from a Private Entity.

 

3) It also remains to be explored as to who all i.e. an individual, a private firm, a private organization etc will fall under the ambit of RTI act.

Edited by Sunil Ahya
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taurus

Posted (edited)

The proviso to Sec 8(1)(j) cannot be changed by us. It provides that info which cannot be denied to Parliament or State legislature shall not be denied. Firstly, this proviso pertains only to Sec 8(1)(j) of the Act. It is not an independent Section of the Act. It is only a proviso to Sec 8(1)(j) of the Act. Secondly, we cannot substitute Parliament or State Legislature with 'pubic authority'.

 

It is not an actual substiution of Parliament or State Legislature with Public Authority in sec 8 (1) (j), it is a logical inference.

Edited by Sunil Ahya
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taurus

Posted (edited)

When the definition is clear in the Act the question of inference does not arise. There is no scope for such inference.

 

Dear what inference and what clear definition are you talking about, can you please clarify, and what do you mean when you say one cannot logically infer?

 

Are you trying to suggest the converse of it that if an information which cannot be denied to a member of Parliament or a State legislature shall not be denied to a person but an information which cannot be denied to a public authority shall be denied to a person, ofcourse one of the exemptions like the information is third party etc applies.

 

More over the reason I inserted this logical inference is for a person to argue out his case forcefully, in case he is denied information from a private entity.

Edited by Sunil Ahya
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Dr. M. Faiyazuddin

Posted

Grateful to you for such a nice and useful Blog. I have to seek information from public schools in the manner suggested by you. Thanks a lot.

Dr. M. Faiyazuddin

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kanaksinh boda

Posted

Thank you for enlightening. I have made an application under RTI to Dy.Registrar, CHS, Thane seeking information from a Coop Hsng. Soc. I have also served a copy of the said application to Sec.of the concerned Coop.Hsng.Soc. Am I right in doing so ?

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