A donation of Rs one lakh to the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund which came with a bizarre riddle that it be given to the “poorest man” of the country was returned by the top office because it does not accept conditional contributions.
The case came before Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur where an RTI applicant Deep Chandra Sharma approached regarding his application seeking to know the status of his donation of Rs one lakh made to the Prime Minister’s Office with a letter dated June 10, 2015 asking it to give the cheque to the poorest man of the country or return it to him.
Through his RTI application to PMO, Sikar-based Sharma wanted to know the information included for which purpose this cheque was used, receipt of cheque etc.
The Prime Minister’s Office told the CIC that the donation was returned to the applicant on March 18, 2016 as it was a “conditional donation”.
The Prime Minister’s Relief Fund rules clearly state, “conditional contributions, where the donor specifically mentions that the amount is meant for a particular purpose, is not accepted in the Fund.”
“The respondent (PMO) stated that on realisation of the fact that the aforesaid cheque was a conditional donation, the refund process of the same was initiated. The respondent stated that appellant’s donated amount has been refunded to him. Hence, appellant’s queries in respect of payment of the donated amount does not arise and become infructuous,” Mathur noted in his order.
The plea of Sharma to impose penalty was also rejected by the Commission as the PMO had provided an initial response followed by detailed response to his application.