Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Ambit of RTI expanded
What to study?
For Prelims: Features of RTI Act.
For Mains: Significance and the need for reforms.
Context: Supreme Court of India in its recent judgment has held that Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) “substantially” financed by the government fall within the ambit of the Right to Information Act.
What has the Court said?
- NGOs which receive considerable finances from the government or are essentially dependent on the government fall under the category of “public authority” defined in Section 2(h) of the RTI Act of 2005.
- This means that they have to disclose vital information, ranging from finances to hierarchy to decisions to functioning, to citizens who apply under RTI.
- An NGO may also include societies which are neither owned or controlled by the government, but if they are significantly funded by the government, directly or indirectly, they come under the RTI Act.
The court defined “substantial” as a “large portion.” It does not necessarily have to mean a major portion or more than 50%. No hard and fast rule can be laid down in this regard. Substantial financing can be both direct or indirect. If government gives land in a city free of cost or on heavy discount to hospitals, educational institutions or any such body, this in itself could also be substantial financing, the judgment explained.
Sources: the Hindu.