Wednesday, 9 May 2018

CIC directs Air India to disclose records of bills raised for PM's foreign visits

The CIC has directed the Air India to disclose complete records associated with bills raised for the foreign visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, underneathlining that since the expenditure is from the general public monetary resource it can not be withheld under the "cloak" of business confidence and fiduciary capability.

The commission rejected the arguments of Air India's central public data officer (CPIO) that the data relates to business confidence and is command by the general public sector enterprise in a very fiduciary capability, creating it exempt from revelation.
Moreover, by no stretch of imagination, it are often acceptable that the knowledge concerning dates, period and places of visit by the PM in his official capability square measure exempted u/s sections eight or nine of the RTI Act (the exemption clauses underneath the RTI Act)," data Commissioner Amitava Bhattacharyya dominated.

He aforementioned every individual bill also because the dates of receipt of amounts ought to be disclosed because the same concerned "expenditure out of public exchequer".
Bhattacharyya noted that Air India's denial to spare the searched for data while not citing any exemption clause underneath the RTI Act is "not acceptable" as a "justifiable denial of information" sought-after by RTI soul Lokesh Batra.

"CPIO (Air India) on one hand claimed that the searched for data is expounded to a matter of business confidence and on the opposite hand the CPIO involved explicit that the knowledge searched for is maintained by Air India in an exceedingly fiduciary capability," he discovered.

Batra had sought-after to understand dates, durations, places visited and therefore the date-wise copies of bills raised by Air India to the PMO for 2016-17.

"The commission when shut scrutiny of the knowledge sought-after by the appellant discovered that dates, period and places of the prime minister's foreign visits square measure disclosable (sic) as these details square measure wide reported within the media, each national & international and each print & electronic," Bhattacharyya aforementioned.

He aforementioned the commission isn't convinced with the CPIO's submission of exemption underneath the "cloak of business confidence and fiduciary relationship" with the shopper involved, that during this case is another wing of an equivalent government.

In response to a separate RTI application of Batra, filed recently, seeking similar data from Air India, the national carrier had cited AN instruction from the PMO to not share data associated with the prime minister's foreign visits.

In AN e-mail, sent to AN Air India official on December twenty six, 2016, the Prime Minister's workplace (PMO) had aforementioned, "Records referring to PM's flight have bound data which can have security implications and square measure, hence, exempted from revelation underneath clause (g) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act, 2005."

"As such, the Air India is suggested to not disclose data regarding PM's flight to such RTI queries," it said.

It was not clear what had prompted the PMO's e-mail in 2016. However, this RTI application within which the commission has given orders to disclose was filed on Sep fourteen, 2016.
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