CIC Directs Department Of Economic Affairs To Provide Information About Donors To Political Parties [Read Order]
The Central Information Commission on Tuesday directed the Department of Economic Affairs to co-ordinate with the Department of Financial Services and the Election Commission, to provide a consolidated reply to the Appellant on information sought by him regarding donors to political parties.
The Appellant, one Venkatesh Nayak, had sought the following information from the CPIO, Department of Economic Affairs, by filing an RTI:
- Total number of representations and photocopies of all such representations, received by the Central Government, till date, from donors regarding the need for maintaining confidentiality of their identity while making donations to political parties;
- Photocopy of the Draft Electoral Bond Scheme prepared by the Department for consultation with RBI and Election Commission.
Pursuant to the non-response of the CPIO, the Appellant had approached the First Appellate Authority which disposed of the matter with directions to transfer the RTI application to the Department of Financial Services, Election Commission of India and Co-ordination Section, Department of Economic Affairs, as the content of application primarily concerned them. Subsequently, the CPIOs to the above departments told the Appellant that they did not have any information to give and did not issue him any hearing notice in this behalf.
During the course of hearing of the present second appeal, the representatives of Election Commission submitted that they did not have any information relating to the electoral bonds scheme and that they had not received any representations as referred to in the RTI application.
The representatives of RBI submitted that no information as sought by the Appellant was available with them and the representatives of Department of Economic Affairs submitted that their Appellate Authority had directed the RTI application to be transferred to the Department of Financial Services and Election Commission.
Noting that the Department of Economic Affairs was responsible to identify the public authority which was in possession of the information sought by the Appellant since the RTI application was originally addressed to it, Information Commissioner Suresh Chandra said,
"the Department of Economic Affairs is directed to co-ordinate with the Department of Financial Services, Election Commission of India and provide consolidated reply to the appellant within four weeks…it is noted that the Department of Financial Services has not given any reply to the RTI application after the same was forwarded by the Department of Economic Affairs. Therefore, the Registry of this Bench is directed to issue hearing notice to Department of Financial Services…"
The order was passed in the presence of Under Secretary to Department of Economic Affairs, Shobha Basil; Under Secretary/CPIO to Election Commission, Santosh Kumar and Section Officer (ACPIO) to the Election Commission, Amit Vishwakarma. Manager/Rose Saprocho of RBI, Lalit Kumar, also attended the hearing through video conference.