As reported by Express News Service on 13th January 2008 on: :: Disclosure of details can’t be withheld after awarding contract, says CIC

Disclosure of details can’t be withheld after awarding contract, says CIC

New Delhi, January 13: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has held that information pertaining to contractual proceeding — held by a public authority — cannot be withheld from disclosure once the contract is concluded. Information Commissioner A N Tiwari said that while confidentiality needs to be necessarily maintained about bids, before contract is finally awarded, there is absolutely no reason why after the award of the contract, confidentiality should be still maintained regarding the names of the bidders and quotation-details.

“In fact, all contracts entered into by public authorities, are bound to be open contracts. To draw an inference that this information should not be disclosed because it was in some way commercial confidence or personal information, which is barred from disclosure, will amount to erroneous interpretation of the provisions of law. A claim of confidentiality of such contract by a public authority is an indefensible claim. If allowed, it would mean that all contracts given out by public authorities shall not be open to scrutiny under the RTI Act. That position, if allowed to persist, would defeat the purpose of the Act,” he observed.

The Commission’s order came on the appeal of Ravindra Chunilal Kalal of Pune who had sought from United India Insurance Company Limited certain information related to the auction of damaged vehicles by the company. He wanted to know the name of the successful bidders, who had purchased salvaged or damaged passenger cars, along with description of vehicles, type of vehicles, engine numbers and chassis numbers of such vehicles.