For More Info Log on to

Google Groups Subscribe to RTI Group
Browse Archives at

Friday, January 26, 2007

HC stays info panel order on discoms CIC Declared Power Firms Public Utilities

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed an order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) which had declared discoms as ‘‘public authorities’’ while directing them to set up a separate department for the purpose of disseminating information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, taking a prima facie view on the question whether discoms were public authorities or not under the relevant section of the RTI Act, granted an interim stay on the CIC order. The stay came on a petition filed by NDPL, BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani. The court has fixed March 28 for the final hearing of the order and issued notice to the respondents to file their replies.

The petitioners had challenged the CIC order in which it had contended that the discoms fall within the definition of a public authority under Section 2(H) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The CIC had based its conclusion on the reasoning that the state government had a financial stake in equity of the discoms so the latter too were public authority.

The power firms, through their counsels, had argued that the CIC order failed to consider the fact that post privatisation they had ceased to be public authorities and when information under RTI is sought, the character of the organisation should be the deciding factor, which in this case was clearly not that of a public authority. The discoms further submitted that CIC had wrongly interpreted RTI Act to even cover private organisations under the ambit of ‘‘public authorities.’’

The CIC order had come on the complaint of one Sarabjit Roy who had sought information under the RTI Act two years ago from the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC). Not satisfied with the response, Roy had approached the CIC for relief which had then declared discoms as public authorities under the RTI Act.

Abhinav Garg | TNN¸ Times Of India Delhi; Date: Jan 24, 2007; Section: Times City; Page: 8

No comments: