Saturday, February 10, 2007

Private Firms covered under RTI - Great !!

Here's some good news .. private companies who report to any "Regulatory Authority" are also covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Which means that any company, whether public orprivate, if it is "reporting" to any Government or Regulatory authority, it is liable to give out information under RTI.

With this, the RTI list also includes:
- Private Banks (via RBI)
- Stock Exchange Listed companies (via SEBI)
- Telecom companies (via TRAI)
- Electricity companies (via CERC/MERC/State Commissions)
- Insurance companies (via IRDA)

Some more Regulatory Authorities are in the pipeline:
- Pre-examination Coaching Centres Regulatory Authority of India
- Airport Economic Regulatory Authority

There should be more transparency, now that Consumers can now hold all such companies "answerable" and "accountable."

This news item appeared in MINT, the business newspaper from Hindustan Times. MINT is a great new, refreshing way to read business news...

Here's the link:
http://www.livemint.com/2007/02/06134316/Right-to-information---Private.htx

I must mention that one needs to register at the site to read the article (however, it's free - and takes less than a minute).

But for those who haven't registered (or won't !), I have reproduced a few excerpts from the article below....

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Companies, banks under purview of the govt have to honour RTI requests, clarifies information commission - K. P. Narayana Kumar

M.M. Ansari, information commissioner at the Central Information Commission that oversees the implementation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, told Mint that as long as these companies reported to a regulator or a government department, they were within the purview of the sunshine law.

According to the commission, companies will not have to appoint an information officer to deal with right-to-information demands the way government entities do. Applicants will route their requests through the relevant agency.

“Applicants have every right to seek information on a private company even though it is in the private sector, if it reports to a government body,” Ansari says, citing sections of the Act that made this possible.

Only applications that served public interest would be dealt with, not those that sought to erode a company’s competitive position, he adds.

The message: you can ask a cola company for details on how much water it used and where the water came from, but not the formula of its fizzy drink.

If there is any difference of opinion on what constitutes public interest and what doesn’t, the commission will intercede and decide.
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Well, and that's how I feel ...

2 comments:

Legal_eagle_sujan said...

thanks for the info........
its well written......

pulivarthi narasimhulu said...

pulivarthi narasimhulu, guntur.....good information to r t i activists. thanks.