IFFCO not a Public Authority under RTI Act 2005

IFFCO not a Public Authority under RTI Act 2005
IFFCO not a Public Authority under RTI Act 2005

In a bid to obtain information on a full­ page advertisements in many newspapers by IFFCO on death of its Chairman on 18.1.11 by IFFCO RTI Activist lands up into CIC who in a full bench decision decided that IFFCO not a Public Authority under RTI Act 2005. The Activist asked the Complete and detailed information on giving advertisements in newspapers on 18.1.11 (and on some other also) on death of IFFCO Chairperson Late Shri Surinder Kumar mentioning also names of newspapers, size of advertisements (in terms of page size also), cost of advertisement in each of such newspaper etc. on the referred obituary advertisements.

Instead of replying to the above query the whole issue turned out that IFFCO defended at CIC that IFFCO not a Public Authority under RTI Act 2005, which in turn means money spent on giving advertisements on newspapers on death of Chairperson shall not be revealed. 

IFFCO not a Public Authority under RTI Act 2005

Whether IFFCO is controlled by the Central Government. 

CIC decided that IFFCO is a Multi State Cooperative Society registered under MSCS Act. The Central Govt. had high financial stakes in the paid up share capital till 2004 but remitted its capital in that year and does not have any stakes at present.

Whether IFFCO is financed directly or indirectly by the Central Government.

It is, no doubt, true that IFFCO is getting huge amount of subsidy from the Central Govt. but, in our opinion, it is not unique to IFFCO; subsidy is also being given to private sector players. The provisioning of subsidy is to keep the sale price of fertilizers low in the open market so as to keep it within the reach of farmers. Subsidy is not a grant. It is only a mechanism to pay the difference between the cost of production and the sale price of fertilizers. We, therefore, hold that subsidy cannot be construed as substantial financing of IFFCO.

We also come to the conclusion that statutory provisions mentioned herein above, conferring certain powers on the central Registrar/Central Govt. are regulatory in nature and do not establish control of the Central Govt. over IFFCO. In view of the above discussion, we have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that IFFCO is not a public authority u/s 2(h) of the RTI Act. The appeals are, therefore, dismissed.

The original question was, does IFFCO has the right to give advertisement on the death of it’s chairman? Does it mean a loss to Government Money? In the judgement given by CIC, it means that IFFCO is not a Government and hence can decide any which way. The news was posted earlier at our forum here. What’s your opinion.

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