The Goa State Information Commission (GSIC) has held that the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005 is applicable to the Goa State Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd (GSMPUL), Ponda.
The order comes in the wake of a direction given by the high court of Bombay at Goa to GSIC to give its finding on whether the GSCMPUL is covered under RTI Act or not. In this case, GSCMPUL had declined to furnish information sought by an RTI activist, Kashinath Shetye, on the ground that the cooperative society was not a public authority.
Shetye had pointed out that state government provides financial assistance to GCMPUL. As per an agreement in 1984, land admeasuring 81,845 sq ms was allotted to GSMPUL on ‘annual rent of one rupee’, Shetye pointed out. Besides, in 2005, GSCMPUL had also written a letter to the registrar of the co-operative societies informing that the milk producers’ union had appointed a ‘public information officer’ as required under the RTI Act, Shetye stated.
While holding that the GSCMPUL is a public authority within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act 2005, state chief information commissioner M S Keny observed thus: “Some sort of assistance and control (of state government) is sufficient for coming within the purview of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act. The RTI Act does not require state control to be deep and pervasive.” Under the RTI Act, lesser degree of state control would suffice, Keny added. Subsequently, the GSIC also directed the GSMPUL to furnish the information sought by Shetye within 15 days.