1. The contract and other documents cannot be given since they are barred under Sec 8(1)(d) of the RTI act.
2. The HRD ministry is not funding this.
3. 14 companies applied for the contract.
Sec 8(1)(d) of the RTI act says,
The reply cannot be more absurd. I immediately filed a complaint with the Central Information Commission and also filed a 1st Appeal. Important portions of the complaint are as follows,
I filed an RTI application with CPIO of IIMA on 5th September 2009 which was received by the CPIO of IIMA on 9th September 2009. The information requested was regarding the awarding of contract of Ms Prometric for Conducting Online CAT and relevant tender copies submitted by all bidders. The CPIO of IIMA refused to provide information to points 3,4,5 and 6 of my application citing Sec 8(1)(d) of the RTI act. I would like to bring to your notice that this is a blatant violation of the RTI act and is completely contrary to the norms set by the Honourable CIC and the Jharkhand High court in these cases. Tender documents are public documents once the tender is awarded. They do not hamper the competitiveness since the process is over. They actually provide citizens information to evaluate the systems of governance and how they decide on such contracts. The Jharkhand High court Bench in its judgement on 8th August 2007 (a copy of the judgement is attached to this complaint) has categorically stated that tender documents are no more a secret once the tender is finalised. They have to be in the public domain and Sec 8(1)(d) does not apply.
Even in an earlier order of the CIC - Appeal No CIC/WB/C/2006/00176 (a copy is attched) the commission has stated the following,
“A contract with a public authority cannot be categorised as “confidential” after completion. Even if some confidentiality is involved, public interest in a matter of the nature of the present case will warrant disclosure. Had it been a case of quotations, bid or tender or any other information prior to conclusion of a contract, it could be categorized as trade secret, but once concluded the confidentiality of such transactions cannot be claimed. Any public authority claiming exemption must be put to strictest proof that the exemption is justifiably claimed.”
Even the Jharkhand High court bench Judgement says the same thing,
the view that once a decision is taken in the matter of grant of tender, there is no justification to keep it secret. People have a right to know the basis on which the decision has been taken. If tenders are invited by the public authority and on the basis of tender documents, the eligibility of a tender or a bidder is decided, then those tender documents cannot be kept secret, that too, after the tender is decided and work order is issued on the ground that it will amount to disclosure of trade secret or commercial confidence. If the
authorities of Government refuse to disclose the document, the very purpose of the Act will be frustrated. Moreover, disclosure of information, sought for by the petitioner, cannot and shall not be a trade secret or commercial confidence; rather disclosure of such information shall be in public interest, inasmuch as it will show the transparency in the activities of the Government.”
This is a contract involving huge amount of Public Money (to the tune of 40 Million USD as per news reports). The IIMs being the best management institutes of the country cannot hide in the veil of secrecy. This does not augur well for the country or its elite institutions and will definitely have an effect on the kind of students it trains that will take this country into the next generation."
There are two interesting things to note here,
These are questions the IIMs need to answer. Its upto them if they want to hide in the veil of secrecy specially when they say they are the best.
They may be the best in the business, but their "Best kept Secret" will not hide for long. There is a constitution in this country and they will have to fall in line sooner than later.
Use RTI !!!