Mumbai: Energy consumers served by Reliance Infrastructure can now obtain information about its services under the RTI Act as the State Information Commission has, in a significant order, ruled that being a public utility service provider it comes under the transparency law.
In a recent order, the SIC has said that though RInfra is a private company, it provides “essential service” and hence comes within the ambit of the RTI Act.
It also directed the company to appoint a Public Information Officer (PIO) and a first appellate authority.”
The order came on a complaint by Anil Galgali who had approached the Commission after his request for some details of his electric meter connection under RTI Act was rejected by the company on the ground that it was a private firm and the law was not applicable to it.
The company argued that since it does not receive any monetary or other assistance from the government and was not formed under any Constitutional provision or legislation it was not a public company and hence not covered under RTI Act.
However, the complainant insisted that Reliance Infra comes within the purview of the transparency law as it was formed under the Company Act and functioned as a public utility service provider.
Concurring with his view, the Commission ruled that power suppliers in the state come under the ambit of RTI as they supply essential service.
It also held that RInfra was formed under Electricity Act 2003 under which supplying power is a public service.
According to Galgali, the move will benefit around 30 lakh consumers of Reliance Infra.
Reacting to the Commission’s order, a Reliance Infra spokesperson said the order was being examined and suitable action will be taken.
“This (information) is already made available in a transparent manner on energy bills as well as on the company’s website. We are examining the order and will take such action as is required under the prevailing statute,” the spokesperson said.
“The electricity distribution business is the most transparent and publicly scrutinised business that undergoes processes like submissions to Regulator, public hearings, regulator’s powers to investigate, etc. It is carried under the complete control of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC),” the company said.