Respond to activist on petitions related to confidentiality in political donations: CIC to DEA

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) to respond to an activist seeking information on the number of representations received by it from donors to political parties requesting confidentiality and the relevant copies.

It has also issued a show-cause notice to the central public information officers (CPIOs) of the DEA, the Department of Financial Services, the Department of Revenue under the Finance Ministry and the Election Commission (EC), asking the CPIOs to explain why a penalty may not be imposed on each of them for not providing the information within the stipulated period of 30 days.

Activist Venkatesh Nayak had sought information on the number of such representations, copies of the representations and the draft electoral bond scheme prepared by the department in 2017 in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the EC.

In its response, the DEA said they did not have the information and that they had marked a copy of the RTI application to the Department of Financial Services in the Finance Ministry.

The RBI and the EC also told the commission that they did not have any information on the matter.

The CIC, in its interim order on October 1, 2019, had directed the DEA to identify the public authorities which might be holding the information.

Information Commissioner Suresh Chandra had directed the DEA to coordinate with the Department of Financial Services and the EC and give a consolidated response to Nayak on the issue.

In its latest order dated January 3, made public on Tuesday, the commission has noted that the DEA had failed to comply with its directions and not discharged its responsibility.

'During the course of the hearing, it was observed that the CPIO of D/o Economic Affairs could not get the complete information from the concerned CPIOs, hence, he could not provide the information to the appellant,' Chandra said.

He also directed the RBI to revisit the RTI application and give a self-explanatory reply or information to the appellant as per the provisions of the RTI Act. PTI ABS RC