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Atul Patankar

NGO activity funded by govt under RTI purview

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Atul Patankar

As reported by timesofindia.indiatimes.com on January 22, 2008

 

Ahmedabad : Gujarat Information Commission (GIC) has ruled that even though an NGO is not owned, controlled or substantially financed by the state government, it qualifies to be a public authority and has to maintain transparency and accountability in its working.

 

Citizens hve a right under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to seek information on those activities for which the government has given financial aid to the NGO, GIC ruled.

 

For non-government funded activity of the NGO, information can be sought from its controlling public authority.

 

HC Mehta of Visnagar had sought some information about Visnagar Grahak Suraksha Mandal from the director (consumer affairs), Ahmedabad. The deputy director of consumer affairs in turn transferred it to the Mandal asking it to furnish the information.

 

Gordhan Patel, president of the Mandal, submitted before GIC that it needed to be first decided whether RTI provisions are applicable to his organisation.

 

Patel argued that the Mandal was not set up by the state government nor was it substantially financed by it and so would not fall under the definition of a public authority under RTI.

 

Mandal did admit it received grants from the government but the bulk of the funds were collected by way of membership fees and donations. When asked by GIC about its total annual expenditure and grant received from the government, Patel submitted that Mandal's annual expenditure was Rs 2.5 lakh and government aid, Rs 60,000.

 

GIC observed that the definition of public authority includes an NGO substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the government. But the term substantially financed' has not been defined in RTI and is hence open for interpretation.

 

Patel submitted that since the annual grant received from government is only Rs 60,000, it does not establish that the Mandal is substantially financed by the government.

 

GIC then observed that the Central Information Commission had ruled Delhi International Authority Limited (DIAL) as a public authority for 26% stake in it was held by government and was substantial. But GIC held that having government contribution to the equity is different from getting government grant-in aid.

 

GIC ruled that as public money would be given to NGOs for a specific purpose, for that part of its activity it would become a public authority under RTI and would be required to furnish information.

 

Source: NGO activity funded by govt under RTI purview-Ahmedabad-Cities-The Times of India

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Atul Patankar

As reported by timesofindia.indiatimes.com on January 22, 2008

 

Ahmedabad : Gujarat Information Commission (GIC) has ruled that even though an NGO is not owned, controlled or substantially financed by the state government, it qualifies to be a public authority and has to maintain transparency and accountability in its working.

 

Citizens hve a right under the Right to Information (RTI) Act to seek information on those activities for which the government has given financial aid to the NGO, GIC ruled.

 

For non-government funded activity of the NGO, information can be sought from its controlling public authority.

 

HC Mehta of Visnagar had sought some information about Visnagar Grahak Suraksha Mandal from the director (consumer affairs), Ahmedabad. The deputy director of consumer affairs in turn transferred it to the Mandal asking it to furnish the information.

 

Gordhan Patel, president of the Mandal, submitted before GIC that it needed to be first decided whether RTI provisions are applicable to his organisation.

 

Patel argued that the Mandal was not set up by the state government nor was it substantially financed by it and so would not fall under the definition of a public authority under RTI.

 

Mandal did admit it received grants from the government but the bulk of the funds were collected by way of membership fees and donations. When asked by GIC about its total annual expenditure and grant received from the government, Patel submitted that Mandal's annual expenditure was Rs 2.5 lakh and government aid, Rs 60,000.

 

GIC observed that the definition of public authority includes an NGO substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the government. But the term substantially financed' has not been defined in RTI and is hence open for interpretation.

 

Patel submitted that since the annual grant received from government is only Rs 60,000, it does not establish that the Mandal is substantially financed by the government.

 

GIC then observed that the Central Information Commission had ruled Delhi International Authority Limited (DIAL) as a public authority for 26% stake in it was held by government and was substantial. But GIC held that having government contribution to the equity is different from getting government grant-in aid.

 

GIC ruled that as public money would be given to NGOs for a specific purpose, for that part of its activity it would become a public authority under RTI and would be required to furnish information.

 

Source: NGO activity funded by govt under RTI purview-Ahmedabad-Cities-The Times of India

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      (Padma Balasubramanian)




      Information Commissioner




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      (Wajahat Habibullah)



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