The Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CGOC), racing against time to meet deadlines, will now also have to find time to cope with a flurry of Right To Information queries regarding its functioning and handling of funds.
The trigger is a Delhi High Court ruling on Thursday that the panel was a ‘public authority’ and therefore had to provide information to an applicant under the Right to Information Act. The court said it also applied to Indian Olympic Association that was another petitioner before it.
Dismissing appeals filed by the panels, Justice S. Ravindra Bhat granted them 30 days time to set up “appropriate mechanisms to enable access to information held and required to be held by them”.
Expanding the ambit of Right to Information Act, the court said even non-government and autonomous organisations can come within the ambit of the law if it received funds from the government for “larger societal goals”.
Justice Bhat said government's control over the organisation’s functioning was not relevant to decide whether they were public authority or not.
The CGOC had challenged the Centre's decision to declare it as a public authority under the transparency law.
The Centre wanted the committee should make its accounts public while CGOC, headed by Suresh Kalmadi refused to divulge its financial data arguing it was an independent body.
CGOC said there was no direct or indirect control over it by the government and there was no funding by it to manage its day- to- day affairs or to run its office. The Centre, on the other hand, said the claims had no basis as the CGOC had received substantial funds from it and owed its birth to it.