KARNATAKA

Private institutions, NGOs now come under RTI Act: Information Commissioner

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‘SC has defined the meaning of substantial funding’

Private institutions and non-governmental organisations (NGO) receiving substantial grants from the government directly or indirectly have been brought within the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Information Commissioner Shekhar D. Sajjanar, has said.

Inaugurating a workshop on the Act here on Friday, he said the Supreme Court had defined the meaning of substantial funding in one of its rulings.

“Organisations or institutions which get more than 95 per cent of government funds for infrastructure will have to provide all their information under the RTI Act. Recently, the State Information Commission brought Bangalore Turf Club, and Golf Club under the purview of the Act as the government had leased nearly 60 acres of land on a rent of Rs. 86 per acre to them. The Commission had taken into account the present market value of the land and declared them as public authorities,” Dr. Sajjanar said.

He said that the RTI had given special privilege to the applicants to even inspect the 33 departments to get the required information sought by them.

The State Information Commission had so far imposed a penalty of Rs. 2 crore on government officials for failing to provide information sought under the RTI Act, he said.

On many occasions, it was found that government officials have had to suffer due to lack of correct understanding of the RTI Act. Under the Act, government officials were duty bound to provide information.

Availability

“No issues will arise if the officials inform the applicants whether the information sought by them was available with them or not in 30 days of receiving the application,” Dr. Sajjanar said.

In case the information was voluminous, the officials should inform the applicants that they could visit the office and inspect the documents paying specified fees. Government departments were suggested to publish the information which were voluminous in nature on websites and ask the applicants to visit the website, he added.



'It is applicable for organisations which get more than 95 p.c. of govt. funds for infrastructure’

Recently, Bangalore Turf Club and Golf Club were brought within the purview of the Act


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