NGOs substantially funded by govt fall within RTI ambit: SC
NGOs and private organisations, substantially financed by government or its authorities, come under the ambit of Right to Information Act.
New Delhi: NGOs and private organisations, substantially financed by government or its authorities, come under the ambit of Right to Information Act making them liable to reveal information under the transparency law, the Supreme Court today said.
A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri said that even though government may not have any statutory control over such organisations but they fall within the definition of public authority if they are substantially financed by it.
"Government may not have any statutory control over the NGOs, as such, still it can be established that a particular NGO has been substantially financed directly or indirectly by the funds provided by the appropriate government, in such an event, that organisation will fall within the scope of Section 2(h)(d)(ii) of the RTI Act (definition of public authority).
"Consequently, even private organisations which are, though not owned or controlled but substantially financed by the appropriate government will also fall within the definition of public authority," the bench said.
Although the term NGO has not been defined in the RTI Act but these organisations carry on various social and welfare activities which are otherwise governmental in nature, it said.
"The term Non-Government Organisations (NGO), as such, is not defined under the Act. But, over a period of time, the expression has got its own meaning and, it has to be seen in that context, when used in the Act.
"Government used to finance substantially, several non-government organisations, which carry on various social and welfare activities, since those organisations sometimes carry on functions which are otherwise governmental," it said.
The bench, however, said that whether an NGO has been substantially financed or not by the appropriate government, is a question of fact, to be examined by the authorities concerned under the RTI Act.