Is campaigning for any election a private matter of the candidates concerned?
The appellant filed two applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the President’s Secretariat seeking details of the expenditure incurred on campaigning during the Presidential election by Pranab Mukherjee including the cost of airfare, boarding and lodging. The Public Information Officer (PIO) informed him that the President Secretariat had no information in this regard. The appellant also wanted to know the particulars of the files pending before the outgoing President Smt. Pratibha Patil and the files cleared/ approved by her in a particular period. The PIO informed that they did not have such details with them.
During the hearing the before Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent reiterated the stand taken by the PIO that neither any information about the expenditure incurred in the campaigning by Sri Pranab Mukherjee nor any information about the number of files pending or cleared by the outgoing President of India in the said period were available with them. The respondent also clarified that, by the time the RTI application had been preferred, the personal staff of the outgoing President had completely changed and the personal section of the new President informed that they had no records to show the details of the files either pending or cleared for the mentioned period.
View of CIC
The Commission held that the campaigning for any election including the Presidential election is a private matter of the candidates concerned. The CIC also noted that if there are no written records available showing either pendency or disposal of files in any particular month, the PIO can provide no information. The Commission rejected the appeal stating that there is no information as such to be disclosed either of these cases.
Citation: Mr. Aseem Takyar v. President's Secretariat in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001803 & 1819
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1410
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