NEW DELHI: A Right to Information (RTI) application seeking details about the donors to the PM-CARES fund, the amount collected so far and the scientific logic behind imposing lockdown was disposed of by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on the grounds of “indiscriminate and impractical” demands made by the applicant.
The RTI plea filed on April 24 by Vikrant Tongad, founder of Social Action for Forest & Environment, was disposed of within three days.
Tongad has already filed the first appeal in the matter claiming the information sought by him is in public interest.
In his application, he had also sought a copy of minutes of the meetings related to lockdown, details of the strategy for COVID-19 by the Centre, testing kits ordered by the government and their state-wise distribution data.
The PMO in its reply, cited a Supreme Court ruling of 2011 saying that indiscriminate and impractical demands under the RTI Act for disclosure of all and sundry information would be counterproductive as it will adversely affect the efficiency of administration and result in the executive getting bogged down with the non-productive work of collecting and furnishing information.
The PMO also cited a Central Information Commission order dated 2009 that the application contains a multiplicity of requests on varied subjects.
“It is therefore not open to the applicant under the RTI Act to bundle a series of requests into one application…no further response is required on the RTI,” it replied.
The opposition and civil society have raised concerns about the creation of PM-CARES fund for COVID-19. Congress president Sonia Gandhi wrote to PM Narendra Modi for merging it with the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to ensure transparency.