Should the donations given by the President be disclosed under RTI?
The appellant filed nine applications under RTI seeking information concerning the functioning of the President of India. The information sought for included details of state visits by the President, guests received by her and expenses incurred, gifts given and received, donations given from time to time, decisions on mercy petitions etc. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided the desired information against most of the queries as per the available records. The PIO denied the information related to the donations given by the President under section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission commended the PIO for providing the information on wide variety of matters and for periods ranging over several years. The Commission also noted that in some cases, even though the information was not available in the form it had been sought, the PIO took the pains to collect and compile it and provided the same. Further, the Commission held that the donations given by the President of India out of the public funds cannot be treated differently from the subsidy given by the government to the citizens under various welfare schemes. Holding that the people of India have a right to know about such donations, the Commission directed the PIO to furnish the details of the donations given by the President. The Commission also directed the PIO to take steps to publish the details such as the names of the receivers of the donations, their address and the amount of donation in each case in the website of the President Secretariat at the earliest.
Citation: Mr. Nitesh Kumar Tripathi v. President’s Secretariat, Ministry of Law & Justice and Ministry of Home Affairs in File No.CIC/SM/A/2011/001257, 1415, 1714, 1715, 2091, 2625, CIC/SM/A/2012/000167, 290, 295
This order of the CIC has been stayed by the Delhi High Court
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/377
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission