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  1. #1
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    RTI ruling puts discoms, DERC at loggerheads


    NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 15 The Central Information Commission’s decision to declare power companies to be “public authorities” and therefore within the purview of the Right to Information Act appears to have set the discoms against the DERC.
    The discoms say they would rather provide information through the DERC and not be brought under the RTI while the DERC says the discoms are “taking recourse to technicalities to get away from the RTI”.

    As per the CIC order, the power companies are required to appoint Public Information Officers (PIOs) by February 1. They are also required to inform the public by putting up the details of the RTI infrastructure on their websites. For now though, the discoms are “studying the CIC order” and are in no hurry to implement it.

    A DERC member, who did not wish to be quoted, says they have always said that the discoms should, in “the spirit of the RTI Act appoint PIOs” since they provide a “public service".


    The CIC does not want to continue to receive RTI applications seeking information from the discoms while the DERC says that it is “not willing to act as an information box” as it is a regulatory body and not an information provider. “The consumer should be approaching the discoms directly and not through us,” it says.

    BSES says the discoms are “studying the order and deliberating whether to challenge it in Delhi High Court”. They are opposing the order on several grounds, one of which being that it requires new staff to be appointed, “virtually creating another bureaucratic structure”.

    The discoms are ready to continue to provide information to the DERC if asked but want to stay out of the RTI’s loop. They maintain that all the information is available on their website anyway.

    In a recent case the CIC, while deciding an appeal in a power-related issue, iterated its earlier order that the discoms are public authorities as they were “created by a government notification and its finances are directly or indirectly received from the Delhi Government”.

    CIC Wajahat Habibullah says: “Even as we have maintained that the discoms are public authorities the DERC is also liable to provide information if it is sought from the public.”

    RTI ruling puts discoms, DERC at loggerheads


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    From the resistance of the Companies it appears RTI only applies to Govt. who collect taxes!

    What about the Public Limited Compaies? They are also resonsible to share holders. They also use people money and they should be equally responsible in disclosing information.

    Examples of the compaines in US of the leage of ENRON and Author Anderson has shown that RTI should be equally applicable to them, with restriction that only the shareholders can ask question.

    All the people working in the Power Companies have nothing to fear from the RTI unless
    a) They have some thing to hide?
    b) They feel RTI is unnecessary burder and drain on their resources?
    Last edited by maneesh; 24-12-06 at 06:24 PM.

  3. #3
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    From the resistance of the Companies it appears RTI only applies to Govt. who collect taxes!

    What about the share holders. They also use people money and they should be equally responsible in disclosing information.

    Compaines in US of the leage of ENRON and Author Anderson has shown that RTI should be equally applicable to them as only with restriction that only the shareholders can ask question.

    All the people working in the Power Companies have nothing to fear from the RTI unless
    a) They have some thing to hide?
    b) They feel RTI is unnessary burder and drain on their resources?

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    DISCOM's reluctance shows their fear.

  5. #5
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    Is RTI binding on private power distributors?


    Anil Ambani's power distribution company (distcom) BSES Yamuna Power Ltd has challenged a government panel decision exposing its functioning in the capital to public scrutiny under the Right to Information Act.

    The Central Information Commission (CIC) had declared that the three private power distribution companies here - New Delhi Power Ltd (NDPL), BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) and BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd (BRPL) - were public entities.

    But in a petition, BSES Yamuna Power has sought the direction of the high court staying the operation of CIC's Nov 30 decision in this regard.

    Justice S.K. Kaul has issued notice to CIC and Delhi government to file their replies to the petition and ordered for stay in the execution of the impugned order till March 28, the next date of hearing.

    'CIC failed to deal with and take note of the material on record, including the fact that distcoms had been duly incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956, as limited companies on July 4, 2001 and could not be under the purview of the RTI Act,' said the petition filed by advocate Amit Kapur.

    The CIC had pronounced its decision in response to an application filed by Sarabjit Roy, a power consumer, who had sought information about the functioning and financial position of the distcoms.

    Acting on the order of the CIC, the Delhi government had directed the distcoms to appoint public information officers and appellate authorities in their respective organisations as required under the RTI Act.

    The distcoms said they did not fall under the purview of the act because they were not substantially financed by the central or the Delhi government.

    Besides, none of the three distcoms were notified in the schedules to the Delhi RTI Act as was done in the case of the power department of the state government, DERC (Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission), Genco and Transco.

    The issue before the court was what would be the measure to determine 'control' and 'substantially financed' in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act which came into effect Oct 12, 2005.

    They said 'control' would mean majority on the board of directors to influence the policies and working of the company and 'substantially financed' would mean working capital apart from equity flowing in to sustain the firm's activities.

    The petition also contended that the working capital and revenue did not flow from Delhi Power Supply Co Ltd or the state government.
    The distcoms are mere joint ventures with majority stake with private operators, said the petition.

    Is RTI binding on private power distributors? - India PRwire

  6. #6
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    Stock Exchanges, Discoms Cannot Dodge RTI Act: Habibullah


    Stock Exchanges, Discoms Cannot Dodge RTI Act: Habibullah
    Reported in News Post India on Thursday 07th of February 2008

    Stock exchanges and electricity distribution companies might argue that they are not covered by the Right to Information (RTI) Act but in the final analysis they must be answerable to the public, says India's Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.
    Both the entities have moved court, asserting they do not fall under the RTI purview.

    'As far as the stock exchanges are concerned, we have given a ruling that they are public authorities and it was their duty to provide information,' Habibullah said during an interaction with the editorial team of IANS.

    The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) challenged a June 2007 order of the Central Information Commission (CIC), which held that stock exchanges are 'public authorities' and hence are covered under the RTI Act.

    The CIC order was passed in response to three appeals filed by people who had been refused information sought under the RTI Act by the Jaipur Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the BSE respectively.

    On their part, the stock exchanges refused to provide information stating that the RTI Act could be used to procure information only from a 'public authority' and that they were not covered by any such definition under the RTI Act.

    'The party in the case was the BSE. We gave a clear ruling but they have challenged it in both the Mumbai and Delhi High Courts,' he clarified.

    A five-member bench of the CIC deemed that stock exchanges were 'public authorities' as they were subject to writ jurisdiction. (Writs are judicial orders issued to a state or government body.) Normally, writs are not issued to individuals or private bodies, including public limited companies.

    Habibullah further pointed out that the watchdog Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) supported the CIC's case, saying stock exchanges were registered as public limited companies. It was based on SEBI's testimony, Habibullah argues, that the CIC gave the ruling and held that stock exchanges discharged an important public function of regulating and controlling the business of sale and purchase of securities.

    The RTI Act, which came into force in October 2005, is seen by many as the most powerful tool for empowering people as it gives citizens the 'right' to access information as compared to 'freedom of information' in other countries.

    Like stock exchanges, power distribution companies (discoms) too have shown resistance to come under the act's ambit, says Habibullah.

    'Even the discoms are disputing the RTI. The matter was remanded to us and we have given a further decision on that. But presently the case is up before the court,' he added.

    Habibullah stoutly maintains that all bodies owned, controlled or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly by the government should be under the purview of the RTI Act.
    'But these organisations are resisting the move to come under the RTI scanner.

    This is a period of lull. I doubt if they can really resist it.'
    The discoms have argued they are ready to provide information to the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission if asked but want to stay out of the RTI Act's loop.

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