HC quashes CIC order directing labour dept for information on Reliance Refinery
Ahmedabad, August 16: Justice D N Patel of Gujarat High Court has quashed an order passed by the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of the State directing the PIO of labour department to provide information to one Rasiklal Maradia. Maradia had sought information about Reliance Refinery in Jamnagar under RTI from the labour department.
After Maradia was denied the information by the labour department, he had moved the CIC. Having accepted his contentions, the CIC passed an order directing the labour department PIO to furnish the information to the applicant. Subsequently, Maradia was provided with the information.
Meanwhile, the Reliance Industry moved an application before all PIOs and the CIC contending that the information sought under RTI about the company should not be disclosed before hearing the company.
After the order of the CIC, the company approached the High Court, challenging the order of the CIC. Senior counsel Mihir Thakor and advocate Dhaval Dave submitted that the information pertains to the private company (third party) and therefore it should not have been parted with before hearing the company. They also submitted that the information should be provided only if public interest warrants it.
Secondly, they submitted that applicant Maradia wanted to settle his commercial rivalry with Reliance and therefore he had sought information regarding the company. Another submission made by the company was that the applicant was likely to misuse the information obtained under RTI and he was facing several criminal cases filed by the Union of India.
Having heard the submissions, the court held that the information pertains to the third party and therefore the company should have been heard before the information was given away. The court has quashed the order of CIC and ruled in favour of the Reliance Industries.
Moreover, the court has held that the applicant had tried to drag the company into controversy earlier also.