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Disclosure of details can’t be withheld after awarding contract, says CIC

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As reported by Express News Service on 13th January 2008 on:

IndianExpress.com :: Disclosure of details can’t be withheld after awarding contract, says CIC

 

Disclosure of details can’t be withheld after awarding contract, says CIC

 

New Delhi, January 13: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has held that information pertaining to contractual proceeding — held by a public authority — cannot be withheld from disclosure once the contract is concluded. Information Commissioner A N Tiwari said that while confidentiality needs to be necessarily maintained about bids, before contract is finally awarded, there is absolutely no reason why after the award of the contract, confidentiality should be still maintained regarding the names of the bidders and quotation-details.

 

“In fact, all contracts entered into by public authorities, are bound to be open contracts. To draw an inference that this information should not be disclosed because it was in some way commercial confidence or personal information, which is barred from disclosure, will amount to erroneous interpretation of the provisions of law. A claim of confidentiality of such contract by a public authority is an indefensible claim. If allowed, it would mean that all contracts given out by public authorities shall not be open to scrutiny under the RTI Act. That position, if allowed to persist, would defeat the purpose of the Act,” he observed.

 

 

The Commission’s order came on the appeal of Ravindra Chunilal Kalal of Pune who had sought from United India Insurance Company Limited certain information related to the auction of damaged vehicles by the company. He wanted to know the name of the successful bidders, who had purchased salvaged or damaged passenger cars, along with description of vehicles, type of vehicles, engine numbers and chassis numbers of such vehicles.

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    • Shrawan
      By Shrawan
      Central Information Commission



      Decision No. 294/IC(A)/2006
      F.No.CIC/MA/A/2006/00336
      Dated, the 21st Sep., 2006



      Name of the Appellant : Shri Om Prakash Agarwal, 25, Strand Road, 723, Marshall House, Kolkata-700001.
      Name of the Public Authority : The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, ICAI Bhavan, Indraprastha marg, P.B. No.7100, New Delhi-110002. DECISION
       
      Facts:
      The appellant had sought certain information which are furnished by the member companies and are available with the respondent in fiduciary capacity.
      The CPIO has denied the information on the ground that the information sought has no relation with public action or interest. The CPIO has also mentioned that the appellant has filed a complaint against the companies whose information are being sought. He has therefore contended that disclosure of information would impede the process of investigation. He has thus soughtexemption u/s 8(1) (h) of the Act. Commission’s Decision:
      Information sought relate to the personal information of third parties, the disclosure of which do not fall under public domain. As such, there is no overriding public interest in disclosure of information sought, which is exempt u/s 8(1) (j) of the Act.
      The appeal is accordingly disposed of.
      Sd/-
      (Prof. M.M. Ansari)
      Information Commissioner
      Download the decision from Download segment


       

    • Shrawan
      By Shrawan
      The Apex court has observed that "disclosure of information in regard to the functioning of the government must be the rule, and secrecy, an exception justified only where the strictest requirement of public interest so demands "

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