Air India is not exempted under the RTI Act from disclosing the identity of persons to whom complimentary tickets are issued, the Delhi High Court has held.
Upholding a single judge’s November 28, 2011 order, a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw dismissed an appeal filed by AI and directed the national carrier to reveal the names and addresses of the people to whom complimentary air tickets were issued in 2006.
The bench concurred with the single judge and rejected the AI’s argument that disclosure of the identity of these peoples would harm the commercial interest of the airline.
“Naturally, the exemption cannot be allowed merely on the ground thereof being raised. It is for the public authority claiming exemption to lay foundation, of the information falling in one of the exempted categories”.
“We are afraid, AI has not laid any such foundation. Even in the list handed over to us, there is nothing to show that there is any confidentiality attached thereto. In fact, recognising some of the names in the list we ourselves are curious to know the reasons for the appellant to have bestowed largesse of complimentary tickets on them. Even otherwise we find the plea raised by AI…to be a bogey,” the bench said.
The airline had argued before the court that complimentary tickets were given for commercial interest and to encourage and promote travel on AI flights and to help its image building.