Right to Information (RTI) activist Kamal Anand has not yet received information on his RTI application, dated May 19, 2015, addressed to the central public information officer (CPIO), ministry of home affairs, seeking details of expenditure on Prime Ministers' foreign visits, who all accompanied them, as well as of their time-to-time domestic tours from 2004-2015.
Anand, who is an advocate, told HT on Friday that he had received a communication from the CPIO, ministry of home affairs that his application was transferred to the PMO on May 23, 2015. But the PMO has failed to give the requested information within the stipulated 30 days, as per the RTI Act, 2005. "It is astonishing that the top most public authority of the country failed to comply with the provision of transparency of law," he added.
The only one response that was received from the PMO was dated July 3, 2015, which mentioned that the matter was under process and a suitable response would be sent as soon as the inputs were received from concerned unit(s)/section(s) in the office. (HT is in possession of copies of the communications exchanged between Anand and New Delhi: PMO and home ministry.)
Anand referred to a circular (No. 1/8/2012-IR) of the government of India, dated April 3, 2013, office memo of even number dated 11.9.2012, advising the public authorities to proactively disclose the details of all foreign and domestic official tours of minister(s) and officials of the rank of joint secretary to the government of India and above and heads of departments.
That order had also said that it had been brought to the notice of this department that public authorities were receiving RTI applications frequently asking for details of the official tours undertaken by the ministers and other officials of ministries/departments concerned.
Disappointed with the manner in which the RTI Act was being 'diluted', Anand said, despite this, there was no response from PMO till now, which violated the very spirit of the transparency law and was also in complete disregard to government's own circulars and office memos.
He asserted that now the PMO should supply information 'free of cost', as they had failed to comply with the prescribed time limit of 30 days under section 7(6) of RTI Act, 2005 that mandated "where public authority fails to comply with the time limit of 30 days information shall be provided to applicant free of cost".
The application said he would wait for a few days and if he did not receive complete information than he would file a complaint against PIO of the PMO to the appropriate authority.