R-Infra challenges SIC order bringing company under RTI ambit

The SIC on July 19 passed an order bringing R-Infra under the ambit of the RTI after observing that though it was a private company, it provided an "essential public service" of electricity and hence, should come under the Act.

The order came following a complaint filed by one Anil Galgali. The commission had also directed the company to appoint a public information officer and an appellate officer as per the provisions of the RTI.

In its appeal challenging the order, R-Infra said it is not a body or institution of government established or constituted by the Constitution of India.

"R-Infra does not fall within the definition of a public authority as either being owned, controlled or substantially financed by the funds provided by the government," the petition states.

It further said that even the Information Commission has admitted that R-Infra is a private company and has not been set up by the government.

"Thus, there is no question of the RTI Act being made applicable to R-Infra. The order passed by the commission is liable to be quashed and set aside," the company said.
The petition will come up for hearing in due course of time. Galgali had approached the commission after Reliance Energy declined to provide him information regarding his electricity bills.

Galgali had sought the information under the RTI Act, which was rejected, saying the provisions of the Act does not apply to private companies.

Galgali had argued before the commission that R-Infra was formed under the Company Act and functioned as a public utility and hence, should come under the ambit of RTI.
Accepting his arguments, the commission had observed that the company was given work under the Electricity Act, 2003, and supplying power is a public service under the Act.

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