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Atul Patankar

In a first, private firms R-Infra, mial under RTI

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Atul Patankar

As reported at by Rahul Gadpale at mumbaimirror.com on Rahul Gadpale

 

CIC issues order labelling MIAL a public utility; State commission’s order on R-Infra due by the end of this month

 

The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the company that developed and runs the Mumbai airport, has become the first private concern in the country to be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI).

 

And soon, another Mumbai-based company, Reliance Infrastructure, could become accountable under the RTI. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has written to the Chief Information Commissioner, Maharashtra, stating that since the company controls distribution of power in Mumbai's suburbs, it is a public utility and thus open to public scrutiny under RTI.

 

While the Central Information Commissioner issued its order on MIAL on May 30, the order on Reliance Infrastructure is expected on June 24.

 

Both Reliance Infrastructure and MIAL have been in news recently -- the former for its high domestic power rates and the latter for its use of airport land for non-aviation purposes.

 

The CIC order on MIAL is a big boost for RTI as it paves the way for other private companies operating public services to be brought under its scope.

 

In the order issued on May 30, CIC has said that MIAL will have to appoint a chief public relations officer within 30 days of receiving this order and also fulfil the “mandate of disclosure” under the RTI Act within two months of receiving the order.

 

The CIC was hearing a case filed by Mumbai-based Sanjay Ramesh Shirodkar. MIAL is a joint venture between GVK Airport Holdings Private Limited, ACSA Global Limited, Bid Services Division (Mauritius) Limited, and Airport Authority of India (AAI), with AAI holding 26 per cent stake.

 

The order also states that MIAL is funded by the government as it accrues huge benefits from the state of Maharashtra. “The state government has waived stamp duty worth Rs 200 to Rs 250 crore. MIAL is using 2000 acres of AAI leased land at concessional rates, the actual market value of which is otherwise close to Rs 50,000 crore,” the order said.

 

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission’s advise to the State Information Commission on Reliance Infrastructure being a public utility was in connection with a case filed by RTI activist Anil Galgali.

 

Galgali had in 2008 asked information under the RTI from Reliance Energy, a part of Reliance Infrastructure, on the company’s power supply operations in Mumbai’s suburbs. However, Reliance Energy refused to part with the information citing its status as a private company.

 

Galgali filed a plea with the State Information Commission, which sought the advice of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).

 

“The CIC has given a verbal order that Reliance Energy should be brought under the RTI. The written order is expected to be issued on June 24. Once passed, this order will help millions of people who have Reliance Energy connections and have several queries concerning their operations,” said Galgali.

 

When Mumbai Mirror contacted Chief Information Commissioner Vilas Patil, Maharashtra, he confirmed that the final order would be given on June 24.

 

Both Reliance Infastructure and MIAL refused to comment.

 

How it all started

 

Pune-based Sanjay Shirodkar had filed an RTI application seeking information about the cost of Bisleri bottles. He claimed that bottles were being sold at rates higher than the MRP at Mumbai International Airport.

 

The MIAL authorities, however, refused to answer Shirodkar’s queries saying that MIAL was a private company and therefore did not fall under the purview of RTI Act.

 

Speaking on CIC’s decision, Shirodkar said, “It is a landmark decision and now MIAL is bound to give information to the public. It might be privately run but it is also a public utlity.”

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Atul Patankar
The CIC order on MIAL is a big boost for RTI as it paves the way for other private companies operating public services to be brought under its scope.

 

Every single private company operating public services will challenge any such order individually, and fight it up to supreme court. And the issue will be entangled in contrasting decisions of high courts. Unless the Central Governement comes forward and makes a suitable amendment to RTI Act itself, or to standard agreement with such companies, there is not much hope of any useful information becoming available.

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jps50

PUBLISHED IN THE ECONOMIC TIMES, MUMBAI

 

8 JUN, 2011, 11.27AM IST,MUMBAI MIRROR

In a first, private firms R-Infra , MIAL under RTI

 

 

MUMBAI: The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the company that developed and runs the Mumbai airport, has become the first private concern in the country to be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI).

 

And soon, another Mumbai-based company, Reliance Infrastructure, could become accountable under the RTI.

 

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has written to the Chief Information Commissioner, Maharashtra, stating that since the company controls distribution of power in Mumbai's suburbs, it is a public utility and thus open to public scrutiny under RTI.

 

While the Central Information Commissioner issued its order on MIAL on May 30, the order on Reliance Infrastructure is expected on June 24.

 

Both Reliance Infrastructure and MIAL have been in news recently -- the former for its high domestic power rates and the latter for its use of airport land for non-aviation purposes.

 

The CIC order on MIAL is a big boost for RTI as it paves the way for other private companies operating public services to be brought under its scope.

 

In the order issued on May 30, CIC has said that MIAL will have to appoint a chief public relations officer within 30 days of receiving this order and also fulfil the "mandate of disclosure" under the RTI Act within two months of receiving the order.

 

The CIC was hearing a case filed by Mumbai-based Sanjay Ramesh Shirodkar. MIAL is a joint venture between GVK Airport Holdings Private Limited, ACSA Global Limited , Bid Services Division (Mauritius) Limited, and Airport Authority of India (AAI), with AAI holding 26 per cent stake.

 

The order also states that MIAL is funded by the government as it accrues huge benefits from the state of Maharashtra. "The state government has waived stamp duty worth Rs 200 to Rs 250 crore. MIAL is using 2000 acres of AAI leased land at concessional rates, the actual market value of which is otherwise close to Rs 50,000 crore," the order said.

 

The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission's advise to the State Information Commission on Reliance Infrastructure being a public utility was in connection with a case filed by RTI activist Anil Galgali.

 

Galgali had in 2008 asked information under the RTI from Reliance Energy, a part of Reliance Infrastructure, on the company's power supply operations in Mumbai's suburbs. However, Reliance Energy refused to part with the information citing its status as a private company.

 

Galgali filed a plea with the State Information Commission, which sought the advice of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).

 

"The CIC has given a verbal order that Reliance Energy should be brought under the RTI. The written order is expected to be issued on June 24. Once passed, this order will help millions of people who have Reliance Energy connections and have several queries concerning their operations," said Galgali.

 

When Mumbai Mirror contacted Chief Information Commissioner Vilas Patil, Maharashtra, he confirmed that the final order would be given on June 24.

 

Both Reliance Infastructure and MIAL refused to comment.

 

HOW IT ALL STARTED

 

Pune-based Sanjay Shirodkar had filed an RTI application seeking information about the cost of Bisleri bottles . He claimed that bottles were being sold at rates higher than the MRP at Mumbai International Airport.

 

The MIAL authorities, however, refused to answer Shirodkar's queries saying that MIAL was a private company and therefore did not fall under the purview of RTI Act.

 

Speaking on CIC's decision, Shirodkar said, "It is a landmark decision and now MIAL is bound to give information to the public. It might be privately run but it is also a public utlity."

 

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/indl-goods-/-svs/construction/in-a-first-private-firms-r-infra-mial-under-rti/articleshow/8771793.cms

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ambrish.p

As reported in Dainik Jagran on 09/06/11

 

Source: http://in.jagran.yahoo.com/epaper/article/index.php?page=article&choice=print_article&location=10&category=&articleid=111713550271986400

 

रिलायंस इंफ्रा पर भी कसेगा आरटीआइ का फंदा

 

मुंबई, जागरण संवाददाता : सूचना का अधिकार कानून (आरटीआइ) अब तक सरकारी दफ्तरों और कंपनियों के ही जी का जंजाल बना हुआ था। पर, जल्दी ही निजी क्षेत्र की कंपनी रिलायंस इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर भी इस कानून के शिकंजे में आने जा रही है। महाराष्ट्र के राज्य सूचना आयोग ने इस बाबत संकेत दिए हैं। उद्योगपति अनिल अंबानी की कंपनी रिलायंस इंफ्रा मुंबई उपनगर के 30 लाख घरों व कार्यालयों को बिजली की आपूर्ति करती है। लिहाजा उसकी सेवा से लाखों आम नागरिक प्रभावित होते हैं। कंपनी की पब्लिक शेयर होल्डिंग भी 51 फीसदी से अधिक है। इसे ध्यान में रखते हुए राज्य सूचना आयोग एवं महाराष्ट्र बिजली नियामक आयोग उसे आरटीआइ के दायरे में लाने पर सहमत हो गए हंै।

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karira

The CIC order declaring MIAL as a PA has been uploaded here:

 

 

http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/73929-cic-declares-mumbai-airport-mial-public-authority-under-rti.html#post179488

 

The order will be very interesting for the following aspects:

 

1. The arguments used for declaring a PA

2. Explanation of what exactly is meant by "control" and "substantial" in Sec 2(h)

3. Useful citations of previous CIC orders and HC judgments

4. CICs views on request by appellant/respondents for hearing by full benches

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karira

As reported in news.in.msn.com on 20 June 2011:

http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5222144

 

Delhi HC stays Mumbai Airport being brought under RTI Act

 

New Delhi, Jun 20 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has stayed an order of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) which had declared the Mumbai International Airport Pvt Ltd (MIAL) as a "public authority" under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

 

"Operation of the impugned order is stayed till the next date of hearing to be listed before the regular bench on September 1, 2011," the court order dated June 17 said.

 

MIAL had challenged the CIC order of May 30 before the Delhi High Court, a MIAL spokesman said today.

 

The issue had cropped up recently when a Pune-based man Sanjay Shirodkar had filed an RTI application seeking information about the cost of Bisleri bottles sold at MIAL. He had claimed bottles were being sold at rates higher than the maximum retail price (MRP) at the Mumbai International Airport.

 

MIAL authorities, however, refused to answer Shirodkar''s queries saying MIAL was a private company and therefore did not fall under the purview of RTI Act.

 

In its order issued on May 30, the CIC had stipulated that MIAL would have to appoint a chief public relations officer within 30 days of receiving the order and also fulfill the "mandate of disclosure" under the RTI Act within two months of receiving the order.

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dr.s.malhotra

Reliance Infra comes under RTI Act, rules SIC

 

as reported by PTI | Jul 22, 2011, 03.06pm IST in times of india .

 

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Reliance-Infra-comes-under-RTI-Act-rules-SIC/articleshow/9323488.cms

 

MUMBAI: Energy consumers served by Reliance Infrastructure can now obtain information about its services under the RTI Act as the State Information Commission has, in a significant order, ruled that being a public utility service provider it comes under the transparency law.

 

In a recent order, the SIC has said that though RInfra is a private company, it provides "essential service" and hence comes within the ambit of the RTI Act.

 

It also directed the company to appoint a Public Information Officer (PIO) and a first appellate authority.

 

The order came on a complaint by Anil Galgali who had approached the Commission after his request for some details of his electric meter connection under RTI Act was rejected by the company on the ground that it was a private firm and the law was not applicable to it.

 

The company argued that since it does not receive any monetary or other assistance from the government and was not formed under any Constitutional provision or legislation it was not a public company and hence not covered under RTI Act.

 

However, the complainant insisted that RInfra comes within the purview of the transparency law as it was formed under the Company Act and functioned as a public utility service provider.

 

Concurring with his view, the Commission ruled that power suppliers in the state come under the ambit of RTI as they supply essential service.

 

It also held that RInfra was formed under Electricity Act 2003 under which supplying power is a public service.

 

According to Galgali, the move will benefit around 30 lakh consumers of Reliance Infra.

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karira

As reported by Urvi Mahajani in dnaindia.com on 20 August 2011:

http://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report_private-firm-doesnt-come-under-rti-reliance-infrastructure-to-bombay-high-court_1577719

 

Private firm doesn’t come under RTI: Reliance Infrastructure to Bombay high court

 

Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) has moved the Bombay high court challenging the order of the state information commission bringing the firm under the ambit of provisions of Right To Information (RTI) Act, claiming that it is a private company and not a public authority.

 

On July 19, the commission had brought RInfra under the purview of RTI observing that though it was a private firm, it provided public service of supplying electricity.

 

While hearing a complaint filed by RTI activist Anil Galgali, the commission had directed RInfra to appoint a public information officer and an appellate officer. The appeal said even the commission had accepted that RInfra is a private firm.

 

“Thus there is no question of the Act being made applicable to RInfra. The order is liable to be quashed.”

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dr.s.malhotra

Reliance Infra challenges SIC's RTI order

 

 

Posted: Fri Aug 19 2011, 10:55 hrs Mumbai:

can be seen here : http://www.indianexpress.com/news/reliance-infra-challenges-sics-rti-order/834219/0

 

Stating that it was a private company and not a public authority, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (RInfra) has approached the Bombay High Court challenging an order passed by the State Information Commission (SIC) bringing the company under the ambit of provisions of Right To Information (RTI) Act. The SIC, on July 19 passed an order bringing RInfra under the ambit of RTI after observing that though it was a private company it provided "essential public service" of electricity and hence should come under the Act.

 

The order came following a complaint filed by one Anil Galgali. The Commission had also directed the company to appoint a Public Information Officer and an Appellate Officer as per provisions of RTI.

 

In its appeal challenging the order, RInfra has said it is not a body or institution of government established or constituted by the Constitution of India. "RInfra does not fall within the definition of a public authority as either being owned, controlled or substantially financed by the funds provided by the government," the petition states.

 

It further says that even the Information Commission has admitted that RInfra is a private company and has not been set up by the government. "Thus there is no question of the RTI Act being made applicable to RInfra. The order passed by the Commission is liable to be quashed and set aside," the company has said. The petition would come up for hearing in due course of time. Galgali had approached the Commission after Reliance Energy declined to provide him information regarding his electricity bills. Galgali had sought information under the RTI Act which was rejected saying the provisions of the Act does not apply to private companies.

 

Galgali had argued before the Commission that RInfra was formed under the Company Act and functioned as a public utility and hence should come under the ambit of RTI.

 

Accepting his arguments, the Commission had observed that the company was given work under the Electricity Act, 2003 and supplying power is a public service under the Act.

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karira

As reported by PTI in dnaindia.com on 13 Oct 2011:

http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report_boost-for-anil-ambani-order-to-bring-rinfra-under-rti-stayed_1598344

 

Boost for Anil Ambani: Order to bring RInfra under RTI stayed

 

In a relief to Anil Ambani-led Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (RInfra), the Bombay high court on Thursday stayed an order of Maharashtra State Information Commission bringing the company within the ambit of RTI Act.

 

A division bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and Nishita Mhatre was hearing an appeal filed by RInfra, challenging the order on the ground that it was a private company and not a public authority and hence the provisions of RTI cannot be applied to them.

 

Granting an interim stay, the bench directed the Maharashtra government to file its reply within eight weeks.

 

The State Information Commission had on July 19 passed an order bringing RInfra within the purview of RTI after observing that though it was a private company it provided essential public service of electricity and hence came under the Act.

 

The order was passed on a complaint filed by RTI activist Anil Galgali. The commission had also directed the company to appoint a public information officer and an appellate officer as per provisions of the RTI Act.

 

In its appeal challenging the order, RInfra has said it is not a body or institution of the government established or constituted by the Constitution of India.

 

"RInfra does not fall within the definition of a public authority as either being owned, controlled or substantially financed by the funds provided by the government," the petition stated.

 

The petition further said even the State Information Commission has admitted that RInfra is a private company and has not been set up by the government.

 

"Thus there is no question of the RTI Act being made applicable to RInfra. The order passed by the commission is liable to be quashed and set aside," it said.

 

Galgali had approached the information commission after the company declined to provide him information regarding his electricity bills. His application seeking information under the RTI Act was rejected by the company, which said its provisions did not apply to private companies.

 

Galgali had argued before the commission that RInfra was formed under the Companies Act and functioned as a public utility and hence should come within the ambit of RTI.

 

Accepting his argument, the commission had held the company was given work under the Electricity Act, 2003 and supplying power was a public service under the act.

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