The Prime Minister’s Office has been directed by the Central Information Commission (CIC) to provide details of expenditure incurred on PM’s relatives accompanying him on visits abroad, rejecting the argument by the PMO that it did not have such records.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Protocol Division of the External Affairs Ministry have both stated that they do not have these records with an RTI application shuttling between the two departments.
The issue was raised before the Central Information Commission which directed the PMO to collect details about the expenses incurred on the foreign travels undertaken by the relatives of the Prime Minister from different departments and provide it to the RTI applicant within 20 working days from the receipt of its order.
The applicant, Ayub Ali of Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, through his RTI application sought to know the details of foreign travels undertaken by the relatives of the Prime Minister and rules regarding their travel and expenses incurred on them.
The Prime Minister’s Office in reply to the application said that foreign travel of the Prime Minister’s relatives with the Prime Minister is as per convention and there are no specific rules regarding them.
It gave only partial details and did not give expenses incurred on such visits, Mr. Ali claimed in his plea.
During the hearing by the transparency panel, the Prime Minister’s Office told Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra that they do not have records of expenditure incurred on the foreign visits undertaken by the Prime Minister’s relatives.
The officials said they had requested the Protocol Division of the External Affairs Ministry to furnish the details sought in the RTI application but they have returned the application saying the information needs to be furnished by the PMO.
“The only issue which remains unresolved in this case till now is the expenditure incurred on the visits by the relatives of the Prime Minister.
“We think the appellant (Ayub Ali) had a right to get this information and, therefore, direct the Central Public Information Officer to obtain this information from whosoever holds it and provide it to the appellant within 20 working days from the receipt of this order,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said.