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PMO DENIES RTI PLEA SEEKING INFO ON PM-CARES

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

  • The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has denied a Right to Information request related to the PM-CARES Fund on the grounds that providing it would “disproportionately divert the resources of the office.”
  • However, a High Court judgment and multiple orders of the Central Information Commission (CIC) have previously held that, under the RTI Act, this rationale can only be used to change the format of information provided, not deny it altogether.

Right to Information (RTI) Act

  • Right to Information (RTI) is an act of the Parliament of India which sets out the rules and procedures regarding citizens’ right to information.
  • Under the RTI Act, 2005, Public Authorities are required to make disclosures on various aspects of their structure and functioning.

This includes:

  1. disclosure on their organisation, functions, and structure,
  2. powers and duties of its officers and employees, and
  3. financial information.

The intent of such suo moto disclosures is that the public should need minimum recourse through the Act to obtain such information.

  • If such information is not made available, citizens have the right to request for it from the Authorities.
  • This may include information in the form of documents, files, or electronic records under the control of the Public Authority.
  • The intent behind the enactment of the Act is to promote transparency and accountability in the working of Public Authorities.

Background to the RTI Petition of PM CARES

  • The Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) Fund was set to accept donations and provide relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, and other similar emergencies.
  • After the announcement of the PM CARES fund an RTI Application was filed asking the PMO to provide the Fund’s trust deed and all government orders, notifications and circulars relating to its creation and operation.
  • The Petition was filed regarding the need of a PM CARES fund when the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) was already existing.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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