Disclosure of expenditure made on each MP during the last Budget Session of Parliament
The appellant filed an application under the Right to In formation (RTI) Act with the Rajya Sabha Secretariat seeking the details of all the expenditure made on each Member of Parliament (MP) during the last Budget Session of Parliament, such as the travelling cost, salary, boarding and lodging, personal assistance, stationery and all other expenditure as per entitlement and reimbursement norms. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided only the copy of a pamphlet which contained the entitlement of each MP, Rajya Sabha.
During the hearing, before the Central Information commission (CIC), the appellant argued that the details of the expenditure incurred on each Member of the Parliament under various heads should be available in the public domain so that the citizens could find out if the expenditure incurred on the MPs was commensurate with their entitlements. The respondent submitted that the information about only a few of the entitlements of an MP, such as, the salary and office expenses allowance were available in a cumulative and compiled form and no other centralised or compiled data was available, MP wise, for the remaining entitlements. The respondent further explained that although an MP presented a TA bill on completion of a particular tour, the expenditure reimbursed on that tour was not extracted from the TA bills into a centralised data base and, therefore, if any one were to find out about the TA reimbursement to an MP, he would have to go through individual bills. The respondent offered that the appellant could inspect the individual record of an MP if he so wished in order to find out the expenditure incurred on various entitlements.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that after the promulgation of the RTI Act, each public authority is expected to maintain data in a form that it would be easily available to the members of the public. The Commission noted that it is surprising to see that an institution like Rajya Sabha has not maintained such data in a centralised and digital platform even after 7 years of implementation of the RTI Act. The Commission directed the PIO to place this order before the Secretary General of the Rajya Sabha and advised the competent authority to initiate steps to ensure compilation of such data preferably in a digital format so that it would be easy to access all data regarding the expenditure and entitlement of MPs on a regular basis. The CIC also stated that the Rajya Sabha must upload every month all the expenses incurred on every MP on its website so that people need not have to resort to RTI in order to know about such expenditures. The Commission accepted the suggestion given by the respondent for the inspection of the relevant data.
Citation: Mr. Aseem Takyar v. Rajya Sabha Secretariat in File No.CIC/SM/A/2011/002851
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/690
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission