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Split court verdict on plea against disclosure of PMNRF donor details

Central government’s standing counsel Jasmeet Singh said that Justice Bhat held that PMNRF is a public authority, whereas Justice Gaur noted that PMNRF is not a public authority.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 24, 2018 4:56:45 am
Delhi High Court seeks CBI stand The division bench had earlier stayed the operation of the CIC order till further direction, saying the matter required consideration. (Express photo: Ravi Kanojia/File)

A division bench of the Delhi High Court on Wednesday delivered a split verdict on a petition against disclosure of the details on institutional donors in the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) under the RTI Act. A bench Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Sunil Gaur has now referred the matter to the Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court to allocate it before a third judge. “We are not in agreement with each other. So we have made a reference to the Acting Chief Justice,” the bench said.

Central government’s standing counsel Jasmeet Singh said that Justice Bhat held that PMNRF is a public authority, whereas Justice Gaur noted that PMNRF is not a public authority. The bench was hearing PMNRF’s plea challenging a single judge’s order of November 19, 2015, dismissing its petition against a 2012 Central Information Commission (CIC) order, asking it to disclose the details of its institutional donors.

The division bench had earlier stayed the operation of the CIC order till further direction, saying the matter required consideration. PMNRF had approached the single judge in 2012 challenging the CIC’s order, which had said: “We are of the view that the details of the institutional donors should be placed in public domain and disclosed to the appellant (Aseem Takyar).”

However, the CIC had said it would not be appropriate to direct the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of PMNRF to disclose the names of the recipients and beneficiaries of the fund. Takyar had sought information regarding PMNRF, including the names and particulars of donors and beneficiaries from 2009 to 2011 under the RTI Act.

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