Cost incurred on tours of former PM and ministers of the former Prime Minister's Cabinet
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), seeking information regarding the cost reimbursed on the medical treatment of Sri Atal Vihari Vajpayee, and the cost incurred on his tours both inside India and abroad. The appellant had also wanted to know about the cost of tour and travel of all the ministers of the former Prime Minister's Cabinet. The Public Information Officer (PIO), PMO transferred the queries to several other public authorities such as, the Ministry of Health, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence etc. The PIO of each of these Ministries responded to the application without providing any substantive information or giving any particular reason why the information was not being provided. The PIO, Indian Air Force stated that the desired information was not available being more than five years old.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the travel cost is borne by a number of public authorities and no single public authority such as any Ministry maintains the consolidated cost of such travels. It would not be possible to find this information from any single public authority in the Central Government. The Commission directed the PIO, PMO to place this order before the competent authority to explore the possibility of collecting such information in a consolidated manner from various other public authorities at least once a year and to place it in their website so that the citizens need not have to run from one Ministry to another to find out this information. Regarding the cost incurred on the medical treatment of the former Prime Minister, the CIC directed the PIO of the Ministry of Health to find out the information, wherever available in the Ministry, and to provide to the appellant. However, if this information is not available in full or part, he should clearly state so in his communication to the appellant. The Commission also advised the appellant to approach individual ministries to find out about the cost on the travel of ministers undertaken within and outside India during the stated period.
Citation: Mr. Pawan Agarwal v. Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Directorate General of Health Services in File No. CIC/SM/A/2013/000166
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1369
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