The Prime Minister's Office refused to divulge any information about PM Cares funds under the RTI stating that the fund is not a public authority under Section 2 (h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, reported LiveLaw.
The RTI application was filed by Harsha Kandukuri on April 1 who sought information regarding PM Cares Funds.
Harsha who studies law at Bengaluru's Azim Premji University had sought copies of the trust deed of PM Cares fund and other documents related to it. However, LiveLaw quoted Public Information Officer who said that the PM Cares fund is not a public authority under Section 2 (h) of the RTI Act, 2005. The officer further said that other relevant information can be sought on pmcares.gov.in.
Harsha told LiveLaw that he will be now be filing a statutory appeal aganist the decision of PMO for not making it public.
He further said that by simply ruling that it is not a public authority and denying the application, the government has constructed walls of secrecy around it. He believes that it is not just about lack of transperancy. "We should be worried about how the funds are being used," Harsha told LiveLaw.
Well, this is not the first time PMO has refused to divulge any information about the fund. Earlier on April 27, PMO had refused to give any details of the fund in an RTI application filed by Vikrant Togad. According to LiveLaw PMO refused to share details stating that "It is not open to the applicant under the RTI Act to bundle a series of requests into one application unless these requests are treated separately and paid for accordingly."
What is Public Authority under Section 2 (h) of RTI Act, 2005?
As mentioned in Indian Kanoon, “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;
(c) 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;
(i) “record” includes—
(i) any document, manuscript and file;
(ii) any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document;
(iii) any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not); and
(iv) any other material produced by a computer or any other device;