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Report No. 145

5.16. Right to information.-

Indeed, in the context of the duty to communicate reasons,1 for rejection of highest tender, and in the context of the duty to afford the public an opportunity to express its views on affairs of public sector undertakings ,2 we would like to refer to the exposition of the law in a judgment which is often quoted3:-

"In a Government of responsibility like ours, where all the agents of the public must be responsible for their conduct, there can be but few secrets. The people of this country have a right to know every public act, everything that is done in a public way, by their public functionaries. They are entitled to know the particulars of every public transaction in all its bearing. The right to know, which is derived from the concept of freedom of speech, though not absolute, is a factor which should make one wary, when secrecy is claimed for transactions which can, at any rate, have no repercussion on public security. To cover with veil of secrecy, the common routine business, is in the interest of public."

These observations were, no doubt, made in the context of Governmental activity. But the reasoning is substantially applicable to the public sector also.

1. Para. 5.15, supra.

2. Cf. L.I.C. v. Manubhai D. Shah, JT 1992 (4) SC 181.

3. State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain, (1975) 4 SCC 428.

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