The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to part with information related to Pillar No. 67 at Zamroodpur that the latter refused to share.
Pillar no 67 was an under-construction pillar that collapsed on July 12 last year, killing six and injuring several others. It is on the under construction Central Secretariate - Badarpur line of the Delhi Metro. The DMRC had earlier said the information demanded was its “intellectual property”.
Under the Right To Information (RTI), in July 2009 architect Sudhir Vohra had sought all structural drawings of both the pile foundation and the superstructure, including all steel reinforcement details, foundation details, engineering calculations and soil tests for “the cantilevered bracket of metro pillar number 67 that collapsed on July 12, 2009”.
The DMRC had declined to give information, as the designs are “intellectual property of the DMRC as considerable cost and time have been spent in preparing them. Hence, exempted from disclosure under section 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act”.
Dissatisfied, Vohra approached the CIC in August 2009. After hearing at a single commission bench, the matter was referred to a five-commission bench headed by Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah.
The DMRC had also declared itself as a state and hence evoked the ‘security’ aspect to deny information.
“The disclosure of the requested information would be prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India and its security and strategic interests, etc.,” argued DMRC’s counsel.
The commission, in its decision dated March 18, has said invoking Section 9 of RTI Act that the commission does agree that the designs are intellectual property but said, “the DMRC has been held to be a state and therefore it cannot claim exemption from disclosure on the ground”.
The commission also agreed with the appellant that there were several other pillars that were retrofitted and it is a major cause for concern.
“We, therefore, hold that it will be in the larger public interest to disclose information requested for by the appellant,” the bench said.
The CIC has now given DMRC four weeks to reply.