New Delhi: The Indian Council for World
Affairs, a foreign policy think-tank which is headed by Vice
President as its ex-officio President with members including
External Affairs Minister, is answerable under the Right to
Information Act, the Central Information Commission has held.
The panel has received the complaint against the Council
that even after six years of implementation of the RTI Act,
the elite think-tank located in Sapru House was not complying
with the section four of the RTI Act which mandates suo moto
disclosure about its activities.
According to the RTI Act each public authority within 100
days of enactment of the RTI Act in October 2005 was mandated
to appoint a Central Public Information Officer for receiving
and processing the applications received under the law and
comply with section four within 120 days.
When Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi issued
notices to ICWA, its Assistant Director Anita Chopra said ICWA
was a society registered under the Societies Registration Act,
1860 and was constituted as a body corporate and declared an
Institution of National Importance by an Act of Parliament in
2001. Chopra also stated that ICWA is substantially and
directly funded by the Government of India.
"Thus from the statement of Ms. Anita Chopra it is
apparent that ICWA is a public authority as defined under
Section 2(h) of the RTI Act," Gandhi said.
He said all public authorities were expected to appoint
Public Information Officers and First Appellate Authorities as
also comply with their obligations under Section-4 of the RTI
Act before October 12, 2005.
"It appears that ICWA may not have complied with these
requirements," Gandhi pointed out directing the Council to
fulfil requirements of the law before December 30.