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IBBI First Appellate Authority Allows RTI Application By A Company Seeking Information Regarding Complaint Against IRP

[30 March 2022] The Executive Director and First Appellate Authority, Santosh Kumar Shukla, IBBI allowed the RTI application filed by Utility Premises Private Limited seeking information regarding the complaint filed by it against the IRP.
The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) had rejected the RTI application filed by the Appellant on the ground that under the RTI Act, only citizens can seek information. Since the Appellant in the present case is not a citizen, it cannot seek information under the Act.
The First Appellate Authority admitted the appeal and directed the CPIO to deal with the information request of the Appellant on merits.
In reaching the conclusion, the Authority relied on the judgment of the CIC in J.C. Talukdar v. C.E.(E) CPWD Kolkata (CIC/WB/C/2007/00104 & 105 dated 17 May
2007) wherein it was held that-
“Section 3 of the RTI Act confers “right to information” on all “citizens”. A “citizen” under the Constitution Part II that deals with “citizenship” can only be a natural born person and it does not even by implication include a legal or a juristic person… Even if it were conceded that a company or a corporate body is a legal entity distinct from its shareholders and it is not in itself a citizen it is a fact that all superior courts have been admitting applications in exercise of their extraordinary jurisdiction from companies, societies and associations under Article 19 of the Constitution of which the RTI Act, 2005 is a child. Very few petitions have been rejected on the ground that the Applicants / Petitioners are corporate bodies or companies or associations and as such not “citizens”. This Commission also has been receiving sizeable number of such applications from such entities. If the courts could give relief to such entities the PIOs also should not throw them out on a mere technical ground that the Applicant / Appellant happened to be a legal person and not a citizen. In conclusion we direct that an application / appeal from an association or a partnership firm or a Hindu Undivided Family or from some other group of individuals constituted as a body or otherwise should be accepted and allowed.”

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