Using RTI to get information about the conduct of Members of Parliament
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs (MPA) seeking to know various aspects of the conduct of Members of Parliament such as, having more than one wife, nonpayment of dues against air travel, use of electricity and water, government accommodation etc. The Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Ministry responded to some queries and transferred some others to different public authorities. The PIOs of different public authorities provided some information to the appellant.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant made extensive submissions on each of his queries demanding the requisite information.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that some of the queries were not very specific and few were based on newspaper reports. The information sought in the application was found to be varied and not held by any single public authority. However, the Commission directed the concerned PIOs to provide:
- the copy of the rules regarding recovery of pending dues from MPs and Ministers for the accommodation provided to them;
- the rules regarding the recovery of outstanding dues for use of aircrafts for nonofficial purpose;
- the rules regarding the recovery of outstanding dues towards the use of electricity and water; and
- the rules regarding the disqualification of membership of either House of the Parliament on the basis of bigamy.
The Commission advised the appellant to seek information from the relevant public authorities and not expect any single public authority to know about all other public authorities where such information might be available. The Commission also advised the PIO of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to be careful in future while transferring RTI requests. The Commission held that any RTI request should be transferred to other public authority only after first ascertaining from the Allocation of Business Rules if the subject matter closely relates to that particular public authority.
Citation: Mr. Subhash Chandra Agarawal v. Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Directorate of Estate, Indian Air Force and New Delhi Municipal Council in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001136
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1128
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission