Monday 24 October 2016

Walmart: Govt Discloses File Notings on Mudgal Panel

New Delhi

The government has disclosed confidential file notings related to setting up of Justice Mukul Mudgal panel that probed alleged lobbying activities by retail major Walmart in India.

The Corporate Affairs Ministry, which had set up the one-man committee during the previous UPA regime, released the file notings following a direction from the Central Information Commission (CIC).

Earlier CIC had directed the Centre to disclose the notings as well as make public the committee's report along with the steps taken by the Centre to prevent possible lobbying in the country by foreign companies.

The one-member committee headed by Mudgal, former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mudgal, had probed whether Walmart undertook activities in India in contravention of any Indian law and any other matter relevant or incidental to the case.

The case came before the CIC on a plea by activist Subhash Agrawal, who had sought the information from the Ministry, which had refused to provide it.

"Information needs to be provided under Section 8(2) of RTI Act which mentions providing of information if public interest overweighs the harm protected.

"There is definitely public interest involved in the whole matter where media reports indicate attempt at lobbying by private foreign companies with even those in PMO," Agrawal said in his appeal.

Agreeing with Agrawal, Information Commissioner Yashowardhan Azad had directed the Ministry to provide the information, along with the file notings, related to the constitution of the committee. He also directed it to provide report of the committee along with the file notings.

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