The Delhi High Court has set aside the order of Chief Information Commission directing NTPC to pay a compensation of around Rs 11 lakh to an oustee who was not given job after his land was acquired for the Farakka Thermal Power Project.
The High Court held that the Commission can grant compensation only when an applicant suffers loss due to denial of information.
Justice S Muralidhar passed the judgement on a plea by NTPC against the order of CIC directing it to pay compensation of more than Rs 11 lakh to Mohd Samad Khan whose land was acquired for the power project in Murshidabad in West Bengal but a job was denied to him.
Interpreting the provisions of the RTI Act which empowers CIC to grant compensation, the Court said while exercising the power a finding would have to be made by the CIC on the extent of approximate loss.
"The compensation that has to be awarded under under the Act is for the loss or the detriment suffered 'on account of the denial of such information' and not just about any loss or detriment suffered by such person," the Court said.
Appearing for NTPC, Attorney General GE Vahanvati had contended CIC was not empowered under the RTI Act to direct for payment of compensation.
The Court also set aside the general directions issued to the NTPC by the CIC in its order to take steps to alleviate the economic difficulties of other land oustees.