Construction Industry Development Council is “public authority” under RTI Act

Central Information Commission (CIC): While
rejecting the contention of Construction Industry Development Council (CIDC)
that it does not fall within the purview of RTI Act as it is a ‘Society’
registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, CIC held that CIDC is
“public authority” under Section 2 (h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005
and hence, answerable to the citizens of India under the Act. The order of the
Commission came upon a complaint filed by an RTI activist who sought
information under the Act from CIDC about
file-notings/correspondence/documents, etc., regarding establishing of CIDC by
Planning Commission. Before Commission, CIDC submitted that it is a ‘Society’
registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 formed by various constituents
of construction industry primarily comprising construction companies and
industry associations as per the order of the Planning Commission. It was
further started that it started functioning with a corpus of Rs.3 crores
contributed by member construction companies and it is not substantially
financed by the Government. It was also submitted that CIDC is now
self-sufficient and independent of any government funding and hence cannot be
termed as “public authority” under the Act. After perusal of the material on
record and hearing both the parties, CIC observed that CIDC owes its origin to
the office order of the Planning Commission of the Government of India thereby
fulfilling the condition of the Section 2 (h)(d) of the RTI Act. Commission
further observed that without the financial aid of the Planning Commission, the
CIDC was a loss incurring entity, struggling to exist and but for the financial
aid received from the Government of India and its sources, it could not have
sustained. Also, the Planning Commission continues to be a permanent member of
the CIDC, with total exemptions regarding entrance and/or annual subscriptions.
While concluding the discussion, Commission noted that, “the role of the
Government is evidently deep and pervasive in the respondent organization
(CIDC) right from its inception to funding, control and operations. Thus, we
are of the considered opinion that the CIDC is substantially financed by the
Central Government and is a fit organisation to be defined as ‘public
authority’ under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.” [Subhash Chandra Agrawal v. S.N.
Murthy, 2015 SCC OnLine CIC 2126,
decided on 25.06.2015]
Source: Legal news India

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