September 26, 2008 18:22 IST
The Calcutta high court on Friday set aside an order of the State Information Commission to make public Tata Motors' [Get Quote] agreement with West Bengal government for the Singur small car plant.
Observing that the information commissioner should hear the matter afresh, Justice Dipankar Dutta directed that Tata Motors must be heard before it passed any order.
Justice Dutta also directed the information commissioner to complete the hearing of the application for disclosure of the details of the agreement within eight weeks.
Tata Motors had moved the high court challenging the order of the commission claiming that it was unconstitutional as it had not given it any opportunity to state its position.
It had also claimed before Justice Dutta that certain portions of the agreement were trade secrets of the company and disclosure of that would amount to the compromise of Tata Motors' interests.
Counsel Kalyan Banerjee for the petitioner had contended that as the land was acquired for public purpose and spending public money, contents of the deal must be made public.
Justice Dutta had on September 12 passed an interim stay for two weeks on operation of the information commission's order of September 8 that asked West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation, a nodal government agency of the state for the project, to make public the full text of the document.
A tripartite agreement was signed on March 9, 2007 among Tata Motors, West Bengal government and WBIDC on the small car project.
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