New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed a Central Information Commission (CIC) order, which asked the Prime Minister`s Office to disclose the names of donors to the PM`s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).
Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued notice to RTI applicant Aseem Takyar and sought his reply within four weeks to an appeal by the Central government against the CIC`s June 6 order, while staying it till December 10.
The CIC had directed the PM Office to give the information to Takyar, rejecting its argument that the sought information was of personal nature.
The panel, however, had said the details of beneficiaries should not be made public as it could compromise their privacy.
The CIC`s order had come on Takyar`s plea, seeking details of the donors and beneficiaries to the PM`s relief fund between 2009 and 2011 under the RTI Act.
Appearing for the Prime Minister`s Office, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A S Chandhiok argued that the relief fund did not receive any donation from the government and the details about the donors and recipients had always been maintained as personal and private information and not even disclosed to Parliament.
In its appeal to the high court, the PMO said, "PMNRF is a private fund comprising voluntary donations and is not a business of government. It has not been constituted under the Constitution or any other law made by the Parliament or State legislatures."
Seeking quashing of the CIC order, the PM office said, "PMNRF is not controlled or financed directly or indirectly by funds provided by the government.
As per the petitioner, "PMNRF is made at the discretion of
Prime Minister and in accordance with his directions. The fund accepts only voluntary contributions. However, contributions flowing out of budgetary source or from the balance sheet of Public Sector Undertakings are not accepted."
On June 6, accepting Takyar`s plea, the CIC had directed the PMO to make public the informations in 10 working days and said, "In our view unless the donors has desired his donation to be kept confidential and secret, disclosure of the list of donors periodically may be a good idea. At least, the names of institutional donors should surely be published. We cannot say the same thing about the recipients and beneficiaries though."