Disclosure Liability of Mining Plans
The CIC after clubbing 13 appeals on the issue of information disclosure on mining plan took the opinion of Ministry of Mines to ascertain whether disclosure of certain elements of a mining plan would be prejudicial to commercial / competitive interest of a third party (Mining Lease applicants). The Ministry of Mines clarified that the following parts of the Plan could be disclosed:-
- 'General Information' and 'location and accessibility' in Chapter 1 & 2 in introductory Notes of the Mining Plan.
- 'Mine Drainage', 'Stacking of mineral rejects and disposal of waste', 'Use of Mineral' and 'Other information' in Chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9 respectively of the Part 'A' of the Mining Plan
- 'Environment Management Plan' in Chapter 11 or Part 'B' of the Mining Plan
CIC in its order dated 07.06.2010 (point 10) says 'The Ministry of Mines is advised – under Section 25(5) of the RTI Act – to have all public authorities under it put-up the above (disclosable) parts of the Mining Plans on their respective websites to obviate repeated RTI-Queries in the matter'.
Disclosure of Part V of Form H-1 under MCDR, 1988
Form H-1 under Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 1988 pertains to Annual Returns. The CIC in its decision dated 08.05.2012 File No.CIC/SS/A/2012/000098 & 99 ordered for providing information under form H-1 (www.mines.nic.in) Part V which it felt is similar in nature to the information included in the Mining Plan which has been allowed earlier.
In so far as compliance to this order, only a Status of Mining Plan Approval is provided by IBM which is no way near to put up disclosable parts of a Mining Plan.
Inspection Reports of IBM
While hearing to an appeal asking for non-disclosure of inspection report prepared by Indian Bureau of Mines dated 05.11.2007, the CIC observed 'Since the report was about 'illegal mining', there is obvious public interest in its being made public. The common citizen is entitled to know all about the theft of nation's resources.' Further it said 'Nothing what the respondents (IBM) had stated would show that this information attracted any of the exemption sections of the RTI Act and, therefore, would warrant non-disclosure.'