'Disclose names of those who made donations to parties'

'Disclose names of those who made donations to parties'

The Commission

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered the disclosure of names of individuals and entities who sought "confidentiality" while giving donations to parties, including through the electoral bond route.

Taking serious note of "vague and misleading" as well as "incomplete" information to a RTI query seeking details, Information Commissioner Suresh Chandra also issued show cause notices to Chief Public Information Officers of Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Financial Services and Department of Revenue under Ministry of Finance as well as Election Commission as to why penalty should not be imposed for not providing information.

The order came on January 3 on an appeal filed by RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak two years ago after the government, RBI and Election Commission did not provide a response to his query seeking information of representations from donors regarding the need to maintain confidentiality of their identity while making donations to political parties.

Nayak did not receive a satisfactory response to his first appeal following which he approached the CIC. In between, the CPIO of RBI responded that his RTI query was transferred to the Department of Economic Affairs and the Department of Financial Services and Election Commission.

During the hearing, Nayak told the CIC that the information might be held by Department of Revenue might be holding the information but the Department of Economic Affairs "intentionally did not transfer" the RTI application to the revenue wing.

Department of Financial Services, EC and RBI also took the view that the information was not available with them.

Taking serious note of the issue, Chandra said in his order that the response given by the RBI was "incomplete" while the Department of Economic Affairs, which was directed to coordinate with other wings to find out the information, "failed to do so". It also said the other respondents also gave "vague and misleading" information.

Chandra then ordered issuing show cause notice to CPIOs of Department of Economic Affairs, Department of Financial Services, Department of Revenue, Election Commission of India as to why a penalty may not be imposed on each of them for not providing the information to the appellant within the stipulated period of 30 days. They were asked to give written explanations within three weeks. 

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