Should the donations made by the president be disclosed under RTI?
Justice Vipin Sanghi of the Delhi High Court has stayed the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the Central government to disclose the donations made by the President on humanitarian grounds between the years 2004 - 2011.
Hearing an appeal filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act filed by Nitesh Kumar Tripathy, the CIC had observed 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 citizens under various welfare schemes and had directed to disclose the information in its order dated 4th May 2012.
The Additional Solicitor General A.S. Chandhiok, who appeared for the President's Secretariat, argued that the information sought under the RTI Act on the financial assistance given under the president's discretionary grant would infringe upon the privacy of the party receiving the funds.
During the course of the hearing, the High Court said that "the president is not above the law" and the public has the right to know about the donation made by the president out of the taxpayers' money. Justice Sanghi also observed that "If it is the taxpayers' money, every citizen is entitled to know how much is doled out to whom."