National Federation of Information Commissions
in India

IFFCO does not come under RTI Act : CIC

New Delhi : Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) does not fit in the definition of public authority and cannot come under the purview of RTI Act because subsidy cannot be construed as substantial financing, the Central Information Commission has held.

A full-bench of the Commission pondered over the issue of government's financing of the fertliser manufacturer to conclude that Union government had high financial stakes in the paid-up share capital till 2004 but does not have any stake at present as it remitted the capital in that year.

The Bench of Information Commissioners Sushma Singh, Basant Seth and M L Sharma agreed that the cooperative was getting huge subsidy from the central government but those concessions are being given to private sector players and is not unique to IFFCO.

"The provisioning of subsidy is to keep the sale price of fertilisers low in the open market so as to keep it within the reach of farmers. Subsidy is not a grant. It is only a mechanism to pay the difference between the cost of production and the sale price of fertilisers," the Bench said.

The Bench said that a number of PSUs were divested by the central government not too long ago but they cannot be deemed to be public authority unless there is evidence of control or substantial financing by the appropriate government.

"In the factual matrix of the case, it is evident that the central government has not share capital in IFFCO as of now. Nor has it nominated any Director in the IFFCO's board of directors," the bench said.

Rejecting the appeal of S C Agrawal and Dr M Haroon Siddiqui, it said subsidy cannot be construed as substantial financing of IFFCO.

"We have no hesitation in coming to conclusion that IFFCO is not a public authority under section 2(h) of the RTI Act," it said.
Last Updated on Monday, 26 August 2013 13:53  

Photo Gallery