Cash-strapped national carrier Air India should disclose its assets abroad and earnings from them, the Central Information Commission has ruled. It “summarily” rejected the contention of Air India that the information sought by activist Aseem Takyar regarding rent, lease fee fetched by it from April 01, 2008 with regard to its properties abroad; demarcation plan and total area of these properties, arrears attracts exemption of commercial confidence under the RTI Act.
“Commission summarily rejects the application of Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act in the matter as CPIO has failed to provide any tenable justification for the same,” Information Commissioner Divya Prakash Sinha said. Section 8(1)(d) exempts from disclosure the information which is of commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.
“Appellant has merely sought to know the amount of rent, lease fee and arrears of rent accruing to Air India from its properties abroad and disclosure of this information can by no stretch of imagination impact aspects of commercial confidence,” Sinha said. He noted that arguments of Air India Central Public Information Officer in written submission appear rather feeble and moreover during hearing no argument was forthcoming from him.
“CPIO is directed to provide available and specific information…of the RTI Application for the period mentioned therein…,” he said.