Plea before Delhi HC to declare PM Relief Fund as 'public authority' under RTI Act

Updated: Feb 8 2023 7:50PM

New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) A plea has been filed before the Delhi High Court asserting that the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund must be deemed to be a “public authority” under the Right to Information Act.

The application was filed by retired Navy officer Commodore Lokesh K Batra in a pending appeal dealing with the issue of classification of the fund as “public authority” under the law. The applicant said the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF), headed by a constitutional authority (Prime Minister of India) and administered by joint secretary to the prime minister, has all the trappings of being a “public authority”, and thus prayed for disclosure of certain information pertaining to the fund.

The applicant had filed an RTI application before the Prime Minister’s Office in April 2020 seeking information concerning the creation of the fund, entrusting the fund to the prime minister and the selection of chartered accountant for conducting of the audit, among others, the application said. The Central Information Commission (CIC), however, subsequently, disposed of the RTI plea on account of the pendency of the issue of the fund coming under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act before the high court. The applicant submitted that when his RTI query was pending, the authorities claimed that they were not bound to share the information as the fund was not a “public authority” and that all contributions to the fund are “voluntary” in nature.