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  1. [caption id=attachment_2269" align="alignright" width="300] Committees are not public authority[/caption] CIC has decided that a Committee does not fall under the category of Public Authority as defined in the RTI Act. CIC stated that: "It is pertinent to mention here that section 2(h) of the RTI Act,2005 define the public authority. The relevant section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005 reads as follows:- “Public authority means any authority, institution, self-government, established/ constituted by ....................................................................................................... body owned, controlled or substantially financed. (by the government) " In view of phraseology, used in the subsection above, it is amply clear that the refusal of the committee in imparting the required information on appellant’s RTI application is justified under section 2(h)(d)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005. " Committees are not Public Authority Section 2(h)(d)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005 refers to "body owned, controlled or substantially financed;" (M.A. Khan Yusufi) Information Commissioner File No. CIC/SS/A/2013/001141/KY, 16.01.2014 Wg. Cdr. Iqbal Singh Banga, Noida Organisation: M/o Corporate Affairs,O/o Official Liquidator
  2. rtiindia

    NGO under RTI

    Continuing the earlier decision, the CIC has confirmed again that minimum 10% of funds should be received by an NGO from the Government, for an NGO to come under RTI. "It would be pertinent to mention here that amount one crore or above or 5% of their portfolio is not worth to be construed as substantially funded or not. But what should be the criteria to be construed as substantially financed, will be such percentage which would not be seen as such but it should be actually substantially financed in a real sense by taking all other financial aspect of a particular NGO that may differ case to case. It is immaterial whether it is 10%, 20% or 30% etc. but definitely not below 10% of total overall financial portfolio of the particular NGO."- CIC The Right to Information Act does not provide any guidance with regard to what is meant by 'substantially financed'. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word substantial as 'of considerable importance, size or worth'. A determination therefore has to be made of what amount of finance to an organization is 'of considerable importance' for it to come within the ambit of Section 2(h) NGO under RTI In an order wherein the Senior Citizens Welfare Association was the respondent, CIC has set specific figures for the word "substantial" as appearing in Sec 2(h) of the RTI ACT: I propose that if 10% of the revenue of an organization comes from government funding, it should be considered to be ‘substantially financed’. Thus, if a body receives a minimum of Rs. 5 lacs and this amount constitutes over ten percent of its annual income, the body can be considered to be ‘substantially funded’ for the purposes of the Right to Information Act, and would be considered to be a Public authority. Decision No. CIC/SG/C/2009/001193/5009 Here are the various discussions over our forum in reference to 'Substantially Financed', you shall also be able to read a lot about NGO under RTI. The decision can be downloaded from here: http://rti.cc/ngo
  3. ashwin_tembhekar

    Is MKCL a public authority?

    can any one help me for filing a question to maharashtra knowledge corporation limited?
  4. Hello, I wish to know through RTI Model English School (Pandurangavadi, Dombivilli ) is aided or non aided
  5. In a significant judgment the Kerala High Court has ruled that Societies registered under the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act are Public Authorities under the RTI Act 2005. This judgment will be useful to members and guests who are trying to get information from Cooperative Societies and Banks in other States/UT's. Of course, members are advised to consult the Cooperative Societies Act of their particular State, in order to correctly ascertain whether this particular judgment of the Kerala High Court becomes applicable in their case. The judgment is also significant because the learned judge has gone into many issues which are very relevant for RTI applicants. The background of the case is that the RCS in Kerala issued a circular that all societies registered under the KCS Act are under his administrative control and therefore are Public Authorities under the RTI Act. They were asked to fulfill their obligations under the Act and also to designate CPIO's. Since there was non compliance on the part of the cooperative societies, the office of the RCS started receiving Complaints from citizens as well as some applicants went all the way to the KIC to lodge Complaints, which in turn issued notices. A bunch of writ petitions was filed by the Cooperative Societies challenging the circular of the RCS, the actions of the officers of the RCS and the notices of the SIC. 1. The court interpreted the KCS Act and ruled that the RCS had access to the information held by the Societies. Sec 2(h) of the RTI Act read along with Sec 2(f) clearly meant that the RCS can access the information held by the societies. Further, several clauses of the KCS Act made it clear that RCS exercised "control" over the societies and therefore information could be sought even if the societies were private bodies. 2. The Court has also ruled that the term "funds provided by the appropriate Government" had to be interpreted in the widest sense as: "......is not necessarily providing funds from what belong to the appropriate Government, either exclusively or otherwise, but also those provisions which come through the machinery of the appropriate Government, including by allocation or provision of funds with either the concurrence or clearance of the appropriate Government. This view emanates on a plain reading of the provision under consideration, having regard to the object sought to be achieved by the RTI Act and in this view, the said provision has to be read to take within its sweep all funds provided by the appropriate Government, either from its own bag or funds which reach the societies through the appropriate Government or with its concurrence or clearance. Not only do I find no ground to exclude this interpretation, but see much support for it. If the legislative intention were not so, it was unnecessary to state in the RTI Act ". . . . . . . substantially financed . . . . . . . by funds provided by . . . . . .". It would have been sufficient to state ". . . . . substantially financed by. . . . . . .". The use of the words "by funds provided by" enlarges and dilates the scope of the words "substantially financed" in that provision......." 3. The court also interpreted the word "substantial", as used in Sec 2(h) of the RTI Act: "...The word "substantial" has no fixed meaning. For the purpose of a legislation, it ought to be understood definitely by construing its context. Unless such definiteness is provided, it may be susceptible to criticism even on the basis of Article 14 of the Constitution........ ......essentially advises that the provision under consideration has to be looked into from the angle of the purpose of the legislation in hand and the objects sought to be achieved thereby, that is, with a purposive approach. What is intended is the protection of the larger public interests as also private interests. The fundamental purpose is to provide transparency, to contain corruption and to prompt accountability. Taken in that context, funds which the Government deal with, are public funds. They essentially belong to the Sovereign, "We, the People". The collective national interest of the citizenry is always against pilferage of national wealth. This includes the need to ensure complete protection of public funds. In this view of the matter, wherever funds, including all types of public funding, are provided, the word "substantial" has to be understood in contradistinction to the word "trivial" and where the funding is not trivial to be ignored as pittance, the same would be "substantial" funding because it comes from the public funds. Hence, whatever benefit flows to the societies in the form of share capital contribution or subsidy, or any other aid including provisions for writing off bad debts, as also exemptions granted to it from different fiscal provisions for fee, duty, tax etc. amount to substantial finance by funds provided by the appropriate Government, for the purpose of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act." 3. The court has then gone into various sections of the KCS and concluded that there is enough scope for the "appropriate government" to administer, interfere, control and finance the cooperative societies. It concludes this argument with: ".....it has to be treated that those societies are non-governmental organisations substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government. This view will only give effect to, and further the intention of the legislature and the objects sought to be achieved by having the RTI Act in place." 4. The court has also gone into a placement of punctuation marks, like colons, semi-colons and commas in various places of the RTI Act, specially in Sec 2(h): "Semi colon provided at the end of the word "financed" in clause (i) in the inclusive limb of Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act is so placed only because of the coma used in that clause, after the word "owned". A semi colon is not used at the end of clause (ii) because no coma is used anywhere in that limb. The meaning sought to be conveyed by the legislative provision in hand is quite clear. The term "fund" relates primarily to money. That, in turn, is relatable only to financing. In any concept of the matter, be it common parlance or technically administrative, the words "directly and indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government" relate only to the term "substantially financed" occurring in clauses (i) and (ii) of the expansive limb of the definition of public authority. As far as the words "body owned" and "controlled" occurring in the first limb are concerned, that usage is also beyond any shade of doubt. That what is conceived and provided for by the legislation is that such owning or control is by the appropriate Government. If any person who is exceptionally well versed in the punctuation of English language needs, I may attempt to add a semi colon after the word "provided" in the last lap of the definition clause. There is really no ambiguity in the matter and this judicial declaration as to the interpretation and construction of the definition of public authority as defined in clauses 2 (h) is only clarificatory of the position which is otherwise explicit, viz., that any body owned or controlled by the appropriate Government and any body substantially financed by funds provided by the appropriate government as also any non-government organisation substantially financed by funds provided by the appropriate Government would fall within the inclusive limb of the definition of public authority in Section 2(h) of the RTI Act." 5. It has also noted that a large amount of finance reaches the societies through cooperative banks, credit societies, etc., which are themselves either controlled by the Government or financed by it. The finances also have to either be recommended by the Government or actively allotted/allocated by it. All this has led the court to the conclusion that Societies registered under the KCS are Public Authorities under the RTI Act. The court has further clarified that: 1. If any individual society refuses to provide information directly to a applicant contending that it is not substantially financed by the government, the applicant can complain under Sec 18(1) to the SIC, which has the powers to decide whether that particular society is a PA or not. 2. The officers of the RCS can also forward the requests received from applicants for information under the RTI Act to the societies, which can provide the information directly to the applicants. The complete judgment has been uploaded to the http://www.rtiindia.info website, in the Court Orders section.
  6. [caption id=attachment_355" align="alignright" width="300] Delhi Golf Club under RTI[/caption] The commission held that Delhi Golf club is both substantially financed as well as substantially controlled by Central Government and hence fall under the purview of RTI Act 2005. There is no doubt that DGC is not covered either under sub clause (a) or (b) or © of clause (h) of Section 2, but DGC is covered under first para of subclause (d) of clause (h) of Section 2, i.e. “body owned, controlled or substantially financed” by the Central Govt. Delhi Gold club receives indirect financing of DGC by the Central Govt. u/s 2(h) (d)(i) of the RTI Act, therefore, DGC is a public authority under RTI Act 2005. The presence of senior Govt. officers in the Management Committee of Delhi Golf Club surely indicates that Central Govt. exercises reasonable amount of control over the affairs of DGC. Delhi Golf Club : how is it substantially financed by Central Government? The commission noted that, the land roughly valued at Rs.46,722 crores has been leased out to Delhi Golf Club for a petty consideration of Rs.5.82 lakhs per annum. It is a case of indirect financing of DGC by the Central Govt. u/s 2(h) (d)(i) of the RTI Act. The details of the fact are as under: The land leased out to DGC is 179 acres. This area falls in category ‘A’ locality for which the minimum rate is Rs.6.45 lakhs per sq.metre. 179 acres is equivalent to 7,24,380 sq.m. If this figure is multiplied with the minimum rate of valuation (i.e. 7,24,380 x 6,45,000), the total figure comes to about Rs.46,722 crores. As against the land value of Rs.46,722 crores, the Central Govt. is getting rental/licence fee of only Rs.5,82,520/per year. Even if the allowance is made for the fact that land in question is not being used for residential purposes, and is being used for the game of golf, the fact remains that there is overwhelming disproportion between the market value of the land and rental/license fee, being paid by DGC to the Central Govt. In view of this, the prime chunk of land has been leased out to DGC at a pittance. To bring home the argument that Delhi Golf club is substantially financed by Central agovernment, CIC took the recourse to the earlier decisions of the court and commission. In decision dated 22.4.2010 in Amardeep Walia –vs Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (File No. CIC/LS/C/2009/900377), the Central Information Commission held Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association to be public authority. For a private entity to qualify to be a public authority, substantive financing does not mean ‘majority’ financing. What is important is that the funding by the appropriate Government is achieving a “felt need of a section of the public or to secure larger societal goals.” A huge property has been placed at the disposal of CLTA by the Chandigarh Administration at a notional rental of Rs.100/per annum. Concededly, CLTA fulfills the felt need of a section of the society by way of imparting training to the budding tennis players. It is, therefore, held that CLTA is a Public Authority.” In another decision dated 21.1.2011 in Pradeep Bhanot –Vs Chandigarh Club, Chandigarh (File No. CIC/LS/A/2010/001184), the Central Information Commission held that the Chandigarh Club was a public authority. The Commission had concluded that Chandigarh Club was public authority under section 2(h) because the bodies like Chandigarh Club etc are providing the public service and while fixing the rate of rent in such bodies, this aspect is taken into consideration. In view of the public services being provided by these bodies, the said bodies can not be termed as commercial sites. Due to this reason, the rent of Chandigarh Club was fixed as Rs 1,08,208/per month with effect from 20.7.2000 with annual increase of 5%. In case we consider the Chandigarh Club as commercial site, then the rent comes out to be rupees to 3157400 per month. Keeping in view the urban character of the city, rent being charged from the Chandigarh Club is not at par with the market rent. Further, by charging the rent at a lower rate, it will make amply clear that the Chandigarh Administration is indirectly financing the promotion of services being rendered by the Chandigarh Club..” Furthermore, in Amrit Mehta –Vs India International Centre (File No. CIC/WB/A/2009/000965/LS) decided on 1.2.2011, the Commission held that India International Centre is a public authority under section 2(h). Considering the fact that a huge chunk of land was allotted to IIC in 1960 in the very heart of the capital city of Delhi at a premium of Rs.1,68,840/only and also considering the fact that IIC is paying rent of only Rs. 8,442/per year to the Central Government over all these years, in our opinion, amounts to indirect substantial financing of IIC by the Central Government. In this view of the matter, we hold that IIC is a Public Authority under section 2(h) of the RTI Act.” Yet another decision of this Commission needs to be adverted to in this connection. 6,000 Sq. Mts. of land was allotted to Delhi Public School, Rohini, by DDA at a highly subsidised rate of Rs. 65 lacs per acre in February, 1997. Another plot of land measuring 10,000 sq. mtrs. was also allotted to DPS, Rohini, for a play ground on temporary basis on payment of nominal ground rent of only Rs. 10/per annum. The question before the Commission was whether DPS, Rohini, can be deemed to be a Public Authority in terms of section 2(h) of the RTI Act. Vide decision dated 23.8.2011 in File No. CIC/SG/C/2010/001036/AD, this Commission held that in the facts and circumstances of the case, DPS, Rohini, is a Public Authority under section 2(h). The reasoning given by the Commission is encapsulated in the para extracted hereinafter. “Considering the above factual matrix of the case at hand, one can sum up that 6000 sq.mts of land has been given to the school at a concessional rate of Rs. 65 lacs per acreand 10,000 sq. mts of land at a highly subsidised nominal ground rent of Rs. 10/per Annum by DDA. Delhi Golf Club- How is it substantially controlled by Central Government? Clause 2(h)(d)(i) of RTI act contemplates ‘control’ and not ‘substantial control’ by the appropriate Govt. Control need not be pervasive; even nominal control amounts to control as per this statutory provision. The commission recorded that "The presence of senior Govt. officers in the Management Committee of DGC contemplated in clause 21(i) of the Amendment Deed leaves no manner of doubt in my mind that Central Govt. exercises reasonable amount of control over the affairs of DGC. This finding is further strengthened by the fact that this clause also empowers the Ministries of the Central Govt. to nominate over 150 Members in DGC. In view of the above discussion, I hold that DGC is public authority u/s 2(h) of the RTI Act. Hence, the President of Delhi Golf Club Limited is hereby directed to nominate an official as Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) and another as Appellate Authority (AA) within six weeks from the receipt of this order, the commissions stated." In nutshell Delhi Golf Cub who has been enjoying our tax payers money of 46,000 crores and who have been governed substantially by Government now has been duly brought under the RTI Act 2005. At least the list NFC those prevail idle 25 officers getting the membership can be known to those who never got the chance to play golf. There are many discussions on the issue of substantially financed at our forum, kindly follow the link to read the, here! Last year's renewal of the DGC's lease deed till 2050 had another rich-and-famous side to it. The Ministry of UA & PA had at the time recommended 18 persons for DGC membership. The list included a famous fashion designer, a junior Central minister, the son of the chief minister of a northern Congress-ruled state, a couple of high-profile lawyers, and a senior bureaucrat. In a letter to the DGCL, the ministry had said it would nominate a total of 25 people under the 'Limited Playing Rights (LPR) regular membership category' and 15 under 'Out of Turn Regular membership category' over a period of time. There's such a long queue for the membership for this prestigious club that if you apply today, you may have to wait up to 30 years to get the nod.
  7. [caption id=attachment_82" align="alignright" width="300] IFFCO not a Public Authority under RTI Act 2005[/caption] In a bid to obtain information on a full­ page advertisements in many newspapers by IFFCO on death of its Chairman on 18.1.11 by IFFCO RTI Activist lands up into CIC who in a full bench decision decided that IFFCO not a Public Authority under RTI Act 2005. The Activist asked the Complete and detailed information on giving advertisements in newspapers on 18.1.11 (and on some other also) on death of IFFCO Chairperson Late Shri Surinder Kumar mentioning also names of newspapers, size of advertisements (in terms of page size also), cost of advertisement in each of such newspaper etc. on the referred obituary advertisements. Instead of replying to the above query the whole issue turned out that IFFCO defended at CIC that IFFCO not a Public Authority under RTI Act 2005, which in turn means money spent on giving advertisements on newspapers on death of Chairperson shall not be revealed. IFFCO not a Public Authority under RTI Act 2005 Whether IFFCO is controlled by the Central Government. CIC decided that IFFCO is a Multi State Cooperative Society registered under MSCS Act. The Central Govt. had high financial stakes in the paid up share capital till 2004 but remitted its capital in that year and does not have any stakes at present. Whether IFFCO is financed directly or indirectly by the Central Government. It is, no doubt, true that IFFCO is getting huge amount of subsidy from the Central Govt. but, in our opinion, it is not unique to IFFCO; subsidy is also being given to private sector players. The provisioning of subsidy is to keep the sale price of fertilizers low in the open market so as to keep it within the reach of farmers. Subsidy is not a grant. It is only a mechanism to pay the difference between the cost of production and the sale price of fertilizers. We, therefore, hold that subsidy cannot be construed as substantial financing of IFFCO. We also come to the conclusion that statutory provisions mentioned herein above, conferring certain powers on the central Registrar/Central Govt. are regulatory in nature and do not establish control of the Central Govt. over IFFCO. In view of the above discussion, we have no hesitation in coming to the conclusion that IFFCO is not a public authority u/s 2(h) of the RTI Act. The appeals are, therefore, dismissed. The original question was, does IFFCO has the right to give advertisement on the death of it's chairman? Does it mean a loss to Government Money? In the judgement given by CIC, it means that IFFCO is not a Government and hence can decide any which way. The news was posted earlier at our forum here. What's your opinion.
  8. Maharashtra Gas Limited (MGL) which supplies pipeline gas to Mumbai has been ruled as a Public Authority. The full decision of the CIC is attached to this post. It has many arguments for and against being a Public Authority - will be interesting for members to note for future references. The appellant was Mr Semlani, a RTI Activist, who passed away recently in Mumbai at the age of 72. MA-01082008-10.pdf
  9. Reported by Umer Maqbool in Greaterkashmir.com on May 23, 2013 Now JK s private schools under RTI ring Lastupdate:- Fri, 24 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT GreaterKashmir.com Srinagar, May 23: In a significant ruling which would ensure transparency in admissions and collection of fee by private schools in Jammu and Kashmir, the State Information Commission has said that information can be accessed from the institutes, directly and indirectly, under the Right to Information Act- 2009. Passing off the judgment, two-member division bench of the Commission headed by Chief Information Commissioner GR Sufi ruled that schools enjoying exemption of income tax which is more than 33% of their total income are public authorities under the Act “because then they are substantially financed and funded by the government.” “Giving exemption of income tax which is more than 33% of the total income is a substantial funding by the Government. Hence, if school falls under the definition of substantially financed by the Government and thus a public authority and school should, therefore, follow the mandate given in the State RTI Act, 2009 and report compliance to the Commission with the various provisions of the State RTI Act, 2009 and within 30 days from the receipt of this order,” the Commission held. The Commission also held that school is a body controlled by the government and information can be sought from them from the body regulating them, in case they pay income tax. “If we presume school is not a public authority, yet it is under a statutory obligation to furnish the information desired by the Directorate of School Education, pertaining to its functioning and activities from time to time,” the ruling reads. According to the ruling, the Commission also held that Section 2(f)(iv) of the Act “recognizes that the non-state actors shall also have statutory obligation to disclose the information which would be useful and necessary for the people they serve.” Today’s judgment comes as another major boost for ensuring transparency in private schools of the State. Pertinently, the State Government had already set up a committee headed by Justice (retd) Bilal Nazki to regulate fee in private schools. The Commission today also said “the issues relating to management and regulation of schools responsible for promotion of education are so important for the development of the nation that it cannot be left at the whims, fancies, idiosyncrasies and caprices of private institutions whether funded or not by the Government.” “Today, the State of Jammu and Kashmir is facing a difficult task of ensuring social justice and equality to all the sections of society,” it reads.
  10. Golf Club loses independence, brought under RTI Act Reported by hindustantimes.com on Oct 15, 2012 Golf Club loses independence, brought under RTI Act - Hindustan Times In a decision taken by the Central Information Commission (CIC) on October 8, the Chandigarh Golf Club has been declared a public authority and brought under the ambit of Right to Information Act, 2005. Now, any individual can ask for information from the club under the said Act. The CIC pointed out that UT administration indirectly controls the club, making it liable to be covered under the Right to Information Act. In a complaint filed by one Brig Sukhdev Singh in 2011 with the CIC, the appellant had claimed that since the club was being indirectly financed for promotion of public services by the UT administration, it should squarely be covered under the definition of 'public authority' as defined under section 2 (h) (ii) of the RTI Act, 2005. Singh has also raised objections on the rent being paid by the club, which was not at par with the prevailing commercial rates. The order by the CIC observed that the prevailing market rates of the land could not be ignored while calculating the rent paid by the Chandigarh Golf Club and thus, the lease deed cannot be read in isolation. "The submission made by the appellant and the subsequent calculation of rent by the chief engineer (UT) clearly shows the vast differential prevailing between the monthly rental being paid by the Chandigarh Golf Club and the commercial rent that the premises could fetch in the open market as estimated by the chief engineer." Singh had submitted that the market value of over 130 acres of land belonging to the club is Rs. 1,000 crore, since the market value of land in the city varies between Rs. 1.2 lakh to Rs. 1.7 lakh per square yard. The club is located in a posh sector of the city, where land will be a minimum of Rs. 1.6 lakh per square yard, hence bringing the total amount of the land to approximately Rs. 1,022 crore. However, the Chief Engineer (UT) while calculating the rent in April 2012 took a conservative price of Rs. 6,700 per square yard, working the cost price at Rs. 42.8 crore. The rent for this was assessed as Rs. 3.85 crore for the land and for the building, the rent was calculated at Rs. 16.18 lakh per annum. The complainant further claimed that the club was paying rent at rates worked out in 1988. The CIC also observed in its orders that the subsidised rent given by the club could be termed as indirect financial assistance provided by the government and which can be termed as a rare privilege conferred on the said club in exclusion of others. Further strengthening the orders that the club is a public authority, the CIC said: "With the mandatory presence of government officers in the managing committee, the absence of governmental control over the functioning of the club cannot be presumed." Three serving IAS officers are nominated members of the managing committee of the club and these nominated members have full voting rights.
  11. As reported at economictimes.indiatimes.com on Oct 19, 2010 NEW DELHI: Rajiv Gandhi Foundation (RGF) headed by Congress President Sonia Gandhi is not liable to answer queries made under the RTI Act as it does not fulfill criteria of a public authority, the Central Information Commission has held. Established on June 21, 1991 to promote former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's ideals and vision for the country, the foundation runs a number of project for the development of children, women and other marginalised groups. "To qualify for public authority, an entity should be owned, controlled or substantially financed, directly or indirectly, by the Government. It is nobody's case that RGF is owned by the Government. Nor is it controlled by the Government in as much as its control vests in a Board of Trustees which is an elected body," a full-bench of the Commission has held. The bench comprising information commissioners M M Ansari, M L Sharma and Satyananda Mishra said the contribution of the Government is less than four per cent of the total average income of RGF since its inception. "It, therefore, cannot be said to be 'substantially financed' by the Government," it said. The case relates to an RTI application filed before the foundation by one Shanmuga Patro, who wanted information about the projects run by it. Arguing before the bench, Patro said the formation of RGF was declared by the Government of India through a budget speech by the then Finance Minister. The Government had also created a corpus for running the affairs of RGF, he claimed. Patro also argued that the foundation is operating from a building built on a land which was initially allotted by the Government at a normal price to the Jawahar Bhawan Trust on perpetual lease dated September 22, 1998. "Later, based on the request made by the said Trust, the Ministry of Urban Development vide letter dated December 28, 1995 accepted the usage of the said land and building by RGF for absolutely free. The rental value of this real estate in the open market would be huge," he said to buttress his claim that the foundation received substantial funding from the Government and hence is liable to respond to RTI queries. Rejecting the arguments, the Commission wondered whether rental value of the said premises at market rate is such that it would render RGF into a Public Authority. "No submissions have been made about the current rental value of the property in-question by the parties...Even if market rental value is attributed to the property in question, in our opinion, it would not render RGF into Public Authority," it said.
  12. Isn't it desirable for all publicly listed companies in NSE and BSE to comply with RTI?
  13. As reported at by Rahul Gadpale at mumbaimirror.com on Rahul Gadpale CIC issues order labelling MIAL a public utility; State commission’s order on R-Infra due by the end of this month The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the company that developed and runs the Mumbai airport, has become the first private concern in the country to be brought under the ambit of the Right to Information Act (RTI). And soon, another Mumbai-based company, Reliance Infrastructure, could become accountable under the RTI. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission has written to the Chief Information Commissioner, Maharashtra, stating that since the company controls distribution of power in Mumbai's suburbs, it is a public utility and thus open to public scrutiny under RTI. While the Central Information Commissioner issued its order on MIAL on May 30, the order on Reliance Infrastructure is expected on June 24. Both Reliance Infrastructure and MIAL have been in news recently -- the former for its high domestic power rates and the latter for its use of airport land for non-aviation purposes. The CIC order on MIAL is a big boost for RTI as it paves the way for other private companies operating public services to be brought under its scope. In the order issued on May 30, CIC has said that MIAL will have to appoint a chief public relations officer within 30 days of receiving this order and also fulfil the “mandate of disclosure” under the RTI Act within two months of receiving the order. The CIC was hearing a case filed by Mumbai-based Sanjay Ramesh Shirodkar. MIAL is a joint venture between GVK Airport Holdings Private Limited, ACSA Global Limited, Bid Services Division (Mauritius) Limited, and Airport Authority of India (AAI), with AAI holding 26 per cent stake. The order also states that MIAL is funded by the government as it accrues huge benefits from the state of Maharashtra. “The state government has waived stamp duty worth Rs 200 to Rs 250 crore. MIAL is using 2000 acres of AAI leased land at concessional rates, the actual market value of which is otherwise close to Rs 50,000 crore,” the order said. The Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission’s advise to the State Information Commission on Reliance Infrastructure being a public utility was in connection with a case filed by RTI activist Anil Galgali. Galgali had in 2008 asked information under the RTI from Reliance Energy, a part of Reliance Infrastructure, on the company’s power supply operations in Mumbai’s suburbs. However, Reliance Energy refused to part with the information citing its status as a private company. Galgali filed a plea with the State Information Commission, which sought the advice of the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). “The CIC has given a verbal order that Reliance Energy should be brought under the RTI. The written order is expected to be issued on June 24. Once passed, this order will help millions of people who have Reliance Energy connections and have several queries concerning their operations,” said Galgali. When Mumbai Mirror contacted Chief Information Commissioner Vilas Patil, Maharashtra, he confirmed that the final order would be given on June 24. Both Reliance Infastructure and MIAL refused to comment. How it all started Pune-based Sanjay Shirodkar had filed an RTI application seeking information about the cost of Bisleri bottles. He claimed that bottles were being sold at rates higher than the MRP at Mumbai International Airport. The MIAL authorities, however, refused to answer Shirodkar’s queries saying that MIAL was a private company and therefore did not fall under the purview of RTI Act. Speaking on CIC’s decision, Shirodkar said, “It is a landmark decision and now MIAL is bound to give information to the public. It might be privately run but it is also a public utlity.”
  14. I attach important judgement of CWP No.19224 of 2006 alongwith 23 connected cases IN THE HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA AT CHANDIGARH It has been reportedly challenged in higher court. SUBSTANTILLY FINANCED.pdf
  15. As reported by V Narayan Swamy at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 12 May 2011 BANGALORE: The Rs 45-crore income-tax break to International Cricket Council for the recent World Cup has spurred the Union sports ministry to draft a policy that will spell out which international events held in the country are eligible for IT exemption. The ministry is working on its recommendations which will be sent to the Cabinet in the coming weeks for approval before they are incorporated in the Income-Tax Act. The ministry proposes to clearly demarcate 'commercial' sports from 'competitive amateur' sports. For the present, two sports -- cricket and Formula One racing – will falling in the commercial bracket ineligible for tax breaks. Sports minister Ajay Maken had objected to the tax exemption for the World Cup at the cabinet meeting in March but the Sharad Pawar-led ICC had won the day. Questions were asked whether a cash-rich body such as ICC and a financially-viable event such as the World Cup needed a tax break. The provisions of the Income-Tax Act, amended in 2005, allow for exemption to the income of both residents and non-residents accruing out of an international sports event held in the country but are too general in nature. Pointing this out to the cabinet, the sports ministry said a policy which draws a line between commercial sports and competitive amateur sports was needed. In future, any sport could figure in the commercial category depending on how its administrators balanced their interests. Three points were laid out by the ministry in its clarification to the Cabinet. One, competitive amateur sports do not attract much sponsorship and hence require government support. Two, tax exemption should be given only to national sports federations and not to international federations, and three, taxes foregone will be deemed as grant-in-aid from the government. This would mean that the tax-exempted federation will be seen as having received public funding. It will therefore come under the RTI Act and will have to subject itself to CAG audits. With international cricket taking away a major chunk of sponsorship in India, the sports ministry feels that henceforth any concession or benefit the government extends to federations must be used to develop a sports culture and help in the growth of the sport at the grassroots. Asked whether the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) would come under its purview once the sports ministry recognizes it as the national sports federation (NSF) for cricket, ministry sources replied in the affirmative. "Even now, they come under our purview. Only that once we grant the NSF status, they have to abide by our guidelines which among other things demand accountability and transparency."
  16. 1. Applications under Section-6 of RTI Act are received by CPIOs seeking information pertaining to NGOs or Private Institutes substantially financed. CPIOs are also considering such institutions as public authority and give decision either to supply information or to deny information by one or other reason. The proceedings further culminate into first appeal and second appeal before CIC. 2. In order to supply any information, the information must be in public domain. Therefore the basic question is whether such NGOs / Institutions are part of a Public Authority or whether it is a public authority in itself. Public Authority is defined under Section-2(h) of Right to Information Act, 2005 as under: 2. Definitions (h) “Public Authority’ means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted – (a) by or under the Constitution; (b) by any other law made by Parliament; © by any other law made by State Legislature; (d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any – (i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed; (ii) Non-Government Organisation substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government; 3. Focusing on Sec-2(h)(d)(ii) above, the question is whether such NGOs / Pvt body are “substantially financed directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government?”. Whether mere provision of certain facilities like free land or building, or certain subsidies, loan or grants, or bearing certain costs like free transport etc may tantamount to substantial financing?. S.2(h)(d)(ii) of Right to Information Act, as it reads is unambiguous. First of all, the substantial financing directly or indirectly has to be by “the appropriate Government” and not by any “public authority”. 4. The term “substantially financed” is not defined in Right to Information Act. When a term is not defined in an Act, the normal rule is to find the definition of the term in a relatable statue or legislation and apply the same. It would be appropriate to apply the definition given in Section 14(1) of CAG Act, 1971, for the term “substantially financed”. According to this Section, when the loan or grant by Government to a body/authority is not less than Rs.25 lakhs and the amount of such loan or grant is not less than 75% of the total expenditure of that body / authority, then such body / authority shall be deemed to be substantially financed by such grants/loans. NGOs or Pvt Bodies not falling under above criteria are, therefore, neither Public Authority, nor can such bodies be treated to be under the control of the Government or Public Authority within the meaning of Sec-2(h)(d)(ii) of RTI Act. In this view, there is no question of transferring the RTI Applications received by a public authority seeking information about such NGOs/Pvt bodies to the NGO or Pvt Body itself under Sec.6(3) of the Act. 5. “Information” means any material in any form, including information relating to any Private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force. If the NGO / Pvt Body is not under regulatory control of a Public Authority under any law, then the information sought under RTI Act cannot be accessed by the public authority under any law.
  17. Atul Patankar

    IFCI comes within ambit of RTI Act: HC

    As reported at business-standard.com on August 17, 2010 The Delhi High Court today held that Industrial Finance Corporation of India Ltd (IFCI) is a public authority under the RTI Act making it mandatory to disclose information under the transparency law. Justice S Muralidhar dismissed the plea of the financial institution that it did not come under the purview of the RTI Act. Upholding the order of the Central Information Commission which had directed it to put in place a mechanism for disclosure of information under the Act, the court said the Corporation comes within the ambit of the transparency law as it is controlled and substantially financed by the Centre. "There is both control and substantial financing of the IFCI by the central government and therefore answers the description of a public authority under Section 2(h)(d)(i) of the RTI Act," the court said. The court said the basic character of the company would remain public irrespective of the holding of government share in it as IFCI is very different from any other company registered under the Companies Act. "This Court held that even though the central government subsequently ceased to hold shares in IFCI Ltd., its essential character as a public financial institution would remain," the court said. The CIC had on May 31, 2007, had declared IFCI as a public authority on a complaint filed by a person after the company refused to reveal information under the RTI Act. The IFCI was established as a statutory Corporation in 1948 by the enactment of the Industrial Financial Corporation of India Act, 1948. It was the first developmental financial institution set up by an Act of Parliament to pioneer institutional credit to medium and large scale industries.
  18. On many threads in this forum as well as in individual posts/queries raised by members, doubts are raised whether "A" or "B" is a Public Authority under the RTI Act and as to how exactly does one decide whether any entity is a Public Authority. Please see: RTI India - Threads Tagged with public authority RTI India - Threads Tagged with substantially financed In a recent order http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/AT-09092008-06.pdf Hon’ble IC Shri A. N. Tiwari has discussed this issue very exhaustively. The matter was whether National Co-operative Consumers’ Federation of India Ltd. (NCCF), and National Agriculture Co-operative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) are Public Authorities or not. The full order/decision is attached to this post. For the benefit of members and guests, the summary of the arguments as follows: 1. NCCF claimed that it is a multi state cooperative society and if all such cooperative societies were brought under the RTI Act, it will be a contravention of the MSCS Act. NCCF was a business organisation, it did not receive any funding from the government and that "only" 78% of its share capital was held by the government and that too on a "redeemable basis" which government could take out any time. Various High Courts had ruled time and again that NCCF is neither a instrumentality or an agency of the State. 2. NAFED just said that they were a multi state cooperative society under the MSCS Act. 3. The Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, using various arguments and sections of various cooperative acts claimed that both NCCF and NAFED were not Public Authorities. 4. CIC, in order to make a final decision relied on -Government holds 78% of the shareholding in NCCF. It is immaterial whether that is redeemable or not and whether Government will ever exercise its right to redeem its shareholding. -GOI has also got the powers for “suppressing” the Board of Directors of NCCF -It also relied on various provisions of the MSCS Act like sections 11, 61,77, 78, 79. 80, 81, 82, 83, 86, 89, 93, 98, 122, 123 to conclude that not only the Government has a important role in the affairs of such Societies but also the Registrar of Cooperative Societies exercised overall control in the formation, functioning, auditing and winding up of such societies. -Serving IAS Officers were appointed as CEO’s of both NCCF and NAFED. -Membership of NAFED is restricted to State level Cooperative Marketing Federations which in turn are totally controlled by the State Governments. -Although the Board of NAFED has only 1 director from GOI, all the other directors are from the State level federations and therefore Government nominees. Therefore they are directly or indirectly controlled by the Government (State or Centre) -NAFED is the central nodal agency of GOI to undertake procurement of oilseeds and pulses under the Price Support Scheme (PSS). 100% of losses incurred by NAFED are supported by GOI. NAFED is also the central nodal agency to procure other agricultural and horticultural commodities under the Market Intervention Scheme (LIS) and losses are fully paid for by GOI. CIC also relied on two important High Court Decisions: a)Civil Writ Petition Nr. 2626 of 2008 in the Punjab and Haryana High Court (DAV College Trust and Management Society v/s The Director of Public Information & Othrs. The High Court had ruled that a crucial touchstone for determining whether an organization qualifies to be a public authority is whether it performs a public duty. b)Madras High Court WCA No. 811 of 2008 dated 05/08/2008 which had Page 8 of 10 has rules that the expression “Public Authority” under Section 2(h)(d)(i) should be construed liberally so that the authorities like the appellant (TNRDC) who are controlled and substantially financed, directly or indirectly by the Government come within the purview of the RTI Act. In this connection it may be mentioned that the Tamil Nadu Road Development Limited which has been held to be a “Public Authority” is a joint venture Company wherein the Tamil Nadu Industries & Development Corporation and IL&FS have equal share-holding. 5. NAFED also argued that as per a judgement of the Delhi High Court in case NAFED Vs. NPFCMFIEU; LPA No.330 of 1999, where the subject of NAFED being a State in its instrumentality role was discussed, and it was held that NAFED did not comprise a State. CIC did not buy this view stating that the concept of “Public Authority” has come into existence only after the RTI Act came into being. In any case being called a “State” or not had no bearing on a entity being a Public Authority or not. The matter before the Delhi High Court was not to decide whether NAFED was a PA or not, it was some other matter. Therefore NAFED taking recourse to that argument was totally unjustified. 6. Section 2(h), among other criteria, states that to be designated as a ‘public authority’, a body should be “owned, controlled or substantially financed directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate government. ” The CIC declared both NAFED and NCCF as Public Authorities, concluding by saying: Before parting with this appeal, it is felt necessary to comment on the conspicuous anxiety exhibited by NAFED and NCCF to remain outside the pale of the RTI Act. It did not take much effort to decipher that couched in technical language, the claim of these two organizations to be left out of the jurisdiction of the RTI Act, was principally aimed at escaping the rigours of transparency and accountability, which the RTI Act imposes on public authorities. For organizations unmistakably devoted to public service and making copious use of public funds for their activities and run, either directly or indirectly, by government servants, such anxiety to be out of the RTI Act surely does no good to their public image. NAFED and NCCF will do well to re-assess their stated positions regarding the RTI Act. There is lot to be gained in terms of improving public perception about an organization by adherence to transparency and accountability norms by the simple act of subjecting the organization to the provisions of the RTI Act. An impression that an organization values transparency and accountability does wonders to the organizational image. Apart from this, since these two organizations use public funds for public good, the citizen has a right to know whether or not NAFED and NCCF have discharged their allotted functions with diligence and propriety. Keeping the two organizations outside the purview of RTI Act would amount to denying to the public something which is acknowledgedly its right. I would urge the NAFED and the NCCF managements to coolly reflect on these matters. Who is a PA - NAFED & NCCF - ANTIWARI order.pdf
  19. NEW DELHI: The Capital's much sought after Sanskriti School at Chankyapuri, which was started by wives of senior civil servants of the Union Government, has been declared a "public authority", as defined under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005, by the Central Information Commission (CIC). The CIC has directed the School Principal to reply to an application filed with the school as per the norms of the RTI Act. Manju S. Kumar, a resident of Sheikh Sarai in South Delhi, had addressed the application to the Principal of Sanskriti School on July 11, 2006, seeking details of the contributions received from Government departments, ministries or non-government organisation by the school since its inception; details of admission given to Class IX students from March 15, 2006, to July 4, 2006; details of the children who had taken transfer certificates from the school on completion of Class VII for the same period; details of children who were given admission to Class IX without any written test during the same period and details of the services to which the parents of all the children belonged. The Principal of Sanskriti School, through a letter on July 26, 2006, informed Ms. Kumar that it was a private school run by the wives of serving Civil Service officers and not a public authority under the RTI Act, 2005. Not satisfied with the reply, Ms. Kumar filed a complaint with the CIC on August 2, 2006. She argued that the school had received a huge Government contribution for developing infrastructure like purchase of land and construction of building and, therefore, should come under the purview of the RTI Act. The Commission called for comments of the Principal on October 12, 2006. In her reply on October 10, 2006, the Principal said that they were not a public authority as the school was started by a society registered under the Societies Registration Act. Subsequently the CIC fixed this past Tuesday as the date of final hearing. Principal Gowri Ishwaran was present during the hearing, while the complainant Ms. Kumar neither sent her representative nor was present in person. During the hearing, Ms. Ishwaran told the Commission that although the Government did not give any grant for day-to-day running of the school or for any other activity, it had given a substantial grant for setting up the infrastructure of the school in its initial phase. Secondly, Ms. Ishwaran stated that the wife of the Cabinet Secretary is the ex-officio Chairperson of the Board of Management of the school and wives of other Civil Service officers are on the Board of Management. While giving his decision, Information Commissioner O. P. Kejariwal said that on the basis of these two submissions the Commission concluded that Sanskriti School did come under the purview of the RTI Act 2005 as a "public authority". "Hence it was incumbent upon them to set up the infrastructure for supply of information as required under the RTI Act and also to respond to the RTI applications," ruled Mr. Kejariwal. Accordingly, the CIC has directed Ms. Ishwaran to reply by February 15 to the application filed by Ms. Kumar. http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=2007012814200400.htm&date=2007/01/28/&prd=th& My Comments: Not only Babus, but also their wives should be careful !
  20. To determine, for the purpose of RTI Act, whether an organization is a public authority or not, we have to have recourse to Section 2(h) of the said Act, which reads: A public authority means any authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted by or under the Constitution by any other law made by Parliament by any other law made by State Legislatures; by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government;and includes any – body owned, controlled or substantially financed; non governmental organization substantially financed; directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government. The term Substantially financed is not defined in the RTI Act. When a term is not defined in an Act, the normal rule is to find the definition of the term in a relatable statute or legislation and apply the same. The definition is given in Section 14(1) of CAG Act-1971 for the term substantially financed. According to this Section, when the loan or grant by the government to a body/authority is not less than Rs 25 lakhs and the amount of such loan or grant is not less than 75% of the total expenditure of that body/authority, then such body/authority shall be deemed to be substantially financed by such grants/loans. Direct funding could be by way of cash grants, reimbursement of expenses etc., and indirect funding could be meeting the expenses directly or in kind. The case under reference is Appeal No.163/ICPB/2006, F.No.PBA/06/158, Dated November 28, 2006 Appellant: Shri Veeresh Malik, New Delhi Public authority: Indian Olympics Association / Deptt. of Sports This article has been posted on our wiki here: Substantially Financed [Right to Information Wiki]
  21. mrdeswal

    Public Authority definition

    Hi! All. Does a company incorporated under Companies Act fall under the perview of Public Authority as defined in RTI Act. Any judgments? Regds
  22. sunilsolar

    Do NGOs come under RTI

    Dear Friends, Do NGOs come under the RTI ? If No how can we know how they are spending govt/foreign funds? (Sunil Sood)
  23. arunmathew

    Public Authority

    Hi, I am desperately looking for a judgment/cse law wherein any company in which the government or any public authority holds 50% or less than 50%, has been construed as a Public authority for the purposes of the act. Would really appreciate a quick response. Thanks and Regards, Arun
  24. Bhavans Schools Parents Association applied to a registered under Charitable Act, education society (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan) for its audited statements of Accounts. But they were not replied. Charitable society comes under RTI Act?
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