New Delhi: The details of a lunch hosted by Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi at Ashoka Hotel here in 2012 can be withheld from disclosure as no ministry or government department had paid any bills for it, the Central Information Commission has held.
The question was raised by RTI applicant Aseem Takyar who wanted to know from Ashoka Hotel the expenses incurred on the lunch hosted by Gandhi on July 18, 2012.
The hotel refused to disclose the details saying the information was of the nature of commercial confidence and disclosing payments made by its guests would compromise its market position.
The hotel said it is a commercial enterprise and has to maintain and protect the commercial confidence of its customers if it has to be successful in the market.
It cannot be expected to disclose the bills of various clients and guests as the payments were not made by any government department or ministry.
"In any case, in view of the fact that the respondent has very categorically mentioned that the above lunch was not paid for by any government ministry or department, therefore there is no further information to be disclosed. The appeal is disposed off accordingly," Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said.