CIC orders External Affairs ministry to disclose Air India bills for PM's foreign trips
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to make public the records relating to expenses incurred on chartering Air India aircraft for foreign vis
NEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to make public the records relating to expenses incurred on chartering Air India aircraft for foreign visits of the PM from 2013 to 2017.
The CIC passed the order while rejecting the contention of the ministry that finding out such details would involve searching of voluminous records by a significant number of officials which would disproportionately divert the resources of the authority.
Chief Information Commissioner Radha Krishna Mathur directed the MEA to share the information with RTI applicant Commodore Lokesh K Batra within 30 days. Batra said the information should be made public since Air India is a cash-strapped airline and delay in settling these bills would also include sizeable interest, which needs to be paid with taxpayers’ money.
After hearing both the parties, Mathur said payment of outstanding dues would require collating of these bills and invoices. He said even if payment was made against these bills, it would have been done after compiling of bills/invoices. “In view of this, the Commission is of the opinion that the respondent (MEA) should provide to the appellant travel bills relating to ‘Air India’...,” Mathur said.