NEW DELHI: Air Force Sports Complex located at posh Race Course area is a public authority coming under the Right to Information Act, a full-bench of the Central Information Commission has held rejecting its contention that it is a private body.
AFSC pleaded that it is a private body which is not substantially financed by the government and hence it is not liable to provide any responses to the RTI applicants.
A full bench comprising Chief Information Commissioner Rajiv Mathur and Information Commissioners Sharat Sabharwal and M Sridhar Acharyulu rejected the arguments as it found that government has given the complex substantial land which is a kind of indirect funding.
The documents supplied by the Defence Estate Officer showed that according to their records, Air Force authorities are in occupation of 126.948 acres of Ministry of Urban Development land at the Air Force Station, Race Course.
According to DEO, out of 100 acres allotted to Defence Ministry for construction of Race Course area, 52.80 acres was formally transferred to Defence Ministry on which the complex is located.
It also came to the notice of the Bench that top-most officers of Defence Services are having control of the management of AFSC.
The AFSC cited a Supreme Court order which said unless the record show that the funding was so substantial to the body which practically by such funding and but for such funding it would struggle to exist.
The AFSC said it does not receive any such funding but CIC rejected it and held that the complex cannot exist if government withdraws the permission to use the land. The AFSC is conducting its activities only because the land was permitted to be used by its owners MoD and MoUD.
The Bench directed the AFSC to conform itself with all the provisions of the RTI including the appointment of a CPIO for responding to RTI queries.