Who has the authority to exclude MPs from the boards of autonomous government institutions?
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Rajya Sabha Secretariat seeking to know the details of the governing bodies of the autonomous government institutions to which Members of Parliament (MPs) were nominated by the Chairman of Rajya Sabha. He also wanted to know as to who has the authority to exclude MPs from such boards. He further referred to a particular notification issued by the Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers, Department of Pharmaceuticals and had wanted to get the copies of the file noting from the Rajya Sabha Secretariat in which concurrence had been given for issuing that notification. The Public Information Officer (PIO) provided the available information and clarified that they had no information about the authority which could exclude MPs from the boards of any autonomous government institutions. For the query regarding the notification issued by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, the PIO, Rajya Sabha Se retariat transferred the RTI application to the Department of Pharmaceuticals. The PIO, Department of Pharmaceuticals informed the Rajya Sabha secretariat that MPs could not represent on the board of this institution because, as held by the Ministry of Law, it would amount to holding an office of profit.
During the hearing the before Central Information Commission (CIC), the appellant submitted that since the Chairman, Rajya Sabha nominated MPs to a large number of boards, the decision of any particular ministry not to allow the nominated MPs to act on a particular board under that ministry should have the approval of the Chairman Rajya Sabha and hence this information should be furnished to him. The respondent submitted that they had no information in this regard.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that on the requisition of individual ministries, the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha nominates MPs to various boards and committees. The information regarding such nomination is available with the Rajya Sabha secretariat but if any ministry decided not to allow the nominated members to function on the board to which they have been nominated, it is that ministry which may have some information about the rationale of its decision. Regarding the notification issued by the Department of Pharmaceuticals, the CIC directed the PIO, Rajya Sabha Secretariat to revisit the case and inform to the appellant if any action has been taken by the Rajya Sabha Secretariat on the intimation received from the Department of Pharmaceuticals and communicate the same to the appelant.
Citation: Mr. Lalit Kumar Jain v. Rajya Sabha Secretariat in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001725
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2013/CIC/1292
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