This commission holds that the Respondent, PMDC is a public body under the Right of Access to Information Act, 2017, a fact admitted by the Respondent when it submitted before this commission that “Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (abbreviate “PMDC”) is a public sector corporate body owned (100%) by the Govt of Pakistan and registered with Security & Exchange Commission of Pakistan. Furthermore, the Respondent, PMDC was established in 1974 with authorized capital of 1000 million rupees as per information available on its web site.
This commission holds that a citizen is not required to establish ‘locus standi’ to exercise the constitutional right of access to information. In fact, Section 11 (5) of the Act specifically mentions that an applicant is not required to provide reasons for seeking information from a public body.
This commission is of the view that instead of dwelling upon motive behind application, the Respondent, PMDC should have juxtaposed items of the requested information with the provisions of the Act and provided information to the applicant if so, warranted by the provisions of the Act.
This commission maintains that disclosure of requested information about the total number of coal mines in each of the three ranges, total number of miners working in all mines of each range, their starting salary (first 2 years) of miners working in each range, whether salary is paid by cheque or cash, copy of the sample appointment letter (if any) from each mine; information about number of hours of work done by miners in each mine of each of the 3 ranges, whether miners are registered with EOBI or not, in case of registration, their registration numbers of registered miners of each mine of each of the three ranges, whether miners are registered with Social Security or not, If yes, information about their Social Security registration numbers of registered miners of each mine of each of the three ranges Is a matter of public importance.
This commission holds that the disclosure of requested information is neither likely to cause damage to financial interests of PMDC nor this disclosure is likely to cause any damage to any lawful commercial activities of the Respondent PMDC.
The disclosure of requested information will reveal as to what extent constitutional right of human dignity and right to gainful employment of minors employed by the Respondent, PMDC are being protected. Furthermore, the disclosure of the requested information will also reveal as to how the Respondent, PMDC is protecting labour rights of the minors working in its mines.