CIC: mere grant-in-aid of 12% to 18% cannot be construed as ‘substantial financing’ for the purpose of declaring Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust as public authority u/s 2(h)(d)(ii) of the RTI Act; it will not struggle to exist without this financing
1. The appellant was not present for the hearing. The respondent was present and represented by Shri Nitin Gupta (Under Secretary). Third party present for the hearing was Shri Hari Datt Sharma.
2. The present appeal is being heard in continuation of the interim order dated 21.1.2014 wherein directions were issued to the respondent to file the details of fund from the government, audit report for last five years, details of projects, list of total projects, list of govt. funded projects etc. The respondent has filed various documents like balance sheet, auditors report, receipts and payments for the period 2008-2009 to uptill March 2013. The respondent has also filed its written submissions part of which is being reproduced as under:
"4. The respondent trust submits that the trust during last five years i.e from 2008-2009 to 2012-2013 had a total of 14 projects of which the following 5 projects are run by the grant in aids from the government:
i) Aids and Appliances
ii) Early Intervention
iii) Integrated School (Delhi & Gwalior)
iv) Sports Project-Gwalior
v) Chacha Nehru Sehat Scheme Project (since discontinued grant w.e.f 7.3.2013 i.e from 1.4.2013)
vi) Teacher Training (since discontinued grant w.e.f 1.4.2011 but the project is still running)
And the remaining following 8 projects run by the respondent trust during the above period are as under:
i) Hospital Unit (Delhi)
ii) Vocational Training (Delhi & Gwalior)
iii) Academic Courses Delhi – (IGNOU, Teacher Training Courses, NIOS (National Institute of Open Learning).
iv) Institute of Physiotherapy
v) Teach India Project
vi) Dell Project (Video conferencing-AMC & Education)
vii) AIF Project (American Indian Foundation)
viii) Community Based Rehabilitation
5. The grant in aid received from the government along with the total yearly expenditure are annexed and marked as Annexure-B. It would be seen from this annexure that the grant in aid during the years 2008-2009 was only 17%, during 2009-10 only 12%, during 2010-2011 only 18%, during 2011-12 only 15% and during 2012- 13 only 14%. A statement of income and expenditure for the above 5 years prepared from the balance sheet of the trust is also enclosed as Annexure-C."
2. In the matter of Thalappalam Ser. Coop. Bank Ltd. and Ors. Vs. State of Kerala and Ors. (Civil Appeal No. 9017 of 2013 arising out of SLP (C ) No. 24290 of 2012) the Hon’ble Supreme Court vide order dated 7.10.2013 has held as under:
"38. Merely providing subsidiaries, grants, exemptions, privileges etc., as such, cannot be said to be providing funding to a substantial extent, unless the record shows that the funding was so substantial to the body which practically runs by such funding and but for such funding, it would struggle to exist. The State may also float many schemes generally for the betterment and welfare of of the cooperative sector like deposit guarantee scheme, a scheme of assistance from NABARD etc., but those facilities or assistance cannot be termed as ‘substantially financed” by the State Government to bring the body within the fold of “public authority”. Under section 2(h) “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted (a) by or under the Constitution; (b) by any other law made by Parliament; (c) by any other law made by State Legislature; (d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any- (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government; (d) (i) of the Act. But, there are instances, where private educational institutions getting ninety five per cent grant-in-aid from the appropriate government, may answer the definition of public authority Under section 2 (h) (d) (i).”
3. The Commission of the view that merely a grant-in-aid of 12% to 18% cannot be contrued as substantial financing for the purpose of declaring it as public authority under section 2(h) “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted (a) by or under the Constitution; (b) by any other law made by Parliament; (c) by any other law made by State Legislature; (d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any- (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government; (d)(ii) of the RTI Act, 2005. I cannot be said that without this financing the organization will struggle to exist. The respondent has also filed various supporting documents to establish that it is not substantially financed by the government. The list of various projects also shows that the respondent is running various projects without the aid of the government. In view of the above, the Commission hereby declares that "Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust, New Delhi" is not a public authority covered under section 2 (h)(d)(ii) of the RTI Act, 2005.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Shri K.K Dixit v. Amar Jyoti Trust in Case No. CIC/SS/A/2011/000167