The Tasmac may have to make public its liquor procurement details, as the Madras high court has quashed an order passed by an information officer of Tasmac under the RTI Act refusing to provide information about details of procurement of liquor by the corporation.
“Procurement details and price of the liquor procured are not trade secrets,” Justice S M Subramaniam said while passing the order on Friday.
“Tasmac, which is a state-run corporation, should be transparent. The price of liquor is not a business secret. Public interest is involved in Tasmac and a large amount of profit earned by the corporation is used by the government for its welfare schemes,” the judge said.
The court passed the order on a plea moved by Loganathan, a Coimbatore resident, challenging Tasmac’s refusal to provide information under the RTI about the procurement, quantity and price of liquor
It was wrong to refuse to provide the information on the grounds that it was a trade secret, it was wrong to reject the application without considering the provisions of the RTI Act since procurement of alcoholic beverages for Tasmac was not a trade secret,” the petitioner said.
Opposing the plea, Tasmac submitted that the details sought by the petitioner could not be provided as the transactions between the companies regarding the procurement of liquor were trade secrets and the disclosure of the information would affect the business.
When the plea came up for hearing, Tasmac filed a report with the procurement details in a sealed cover to the court. Taking the report on record, the court said that the details of the price at which liquor is procured from which company cannot be considered as a trade secret.
The court then directed the information officer to issue a proper reply to the petitioner’s application under RTI with all the details sought for.