Hyderabad airport body could come under RTI

Recent orders of Madras and Delhi HCs have given new hopes to citizens seeking to exercise RTI on Hyderabad international airport

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Danish Raza | May 17, 2010



Right to Information (RTI) activists in Hyderabad will soon file a writ petition at Andhra Pradesh high court seeking to vacate the stay order exempting the Hyderabad international airport operator, a public-private partnership (PPP), from the RTI Act, 2005.

Last September, Andhra Pradesh information commission had declared GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) to be a 'public authority' under the RTI Act, which would make the airport operator legally bound to answer requests for information. The definition of a 'public authority' under the RTI law includes an entity that's "substantially financed" by the government. The government has 26 per cent stake in GHIAL.

However, GMR, the private partner in GHIAL, filed a wite petition in the court and obtained a stay on the information commission’s order. Interestingly, the aiport operators in Delhi and Mumbai have also obtained similar stay orders in the past. Rakesh Reddy Dubbudu of United Forum for RTI Activists, who plans to file a writ petition in the court told Governance Now that two recent orders of the high courts of Delhi and Madras would find a mention in his petition.

“Recently, the Delhi high court determined that even those cooperatives that have minor governement stake in them could be deemed public authorities. Then, there is a recent Madras high court order that made a liberal interpretation of the definition of 'public authority' under the RTI Act and determined that if a public private partnerships (PPPs) replaces the State in the latter's role as a provider of public goods or services, the former should be deemed as a public authority," Dubbudu said.
 

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