The Supreme Court Monday ruled that that all private organisations and NGOs will be obligated under the Right to Information Act to disclose information if they were substantially financed by the government. These organisations could fall within the definition of public authority under the transparency law since they received substantial government grants, it said.
However, it would be for the person seeking information from such organisations to prove that they were financed “substantially” by the government.
The court said the government may not have any statutory control over the NGOs, but if a particular NGO had been substantially financed directly or indirectly by the government, they would come under the ambit of the RTI Act.
“Consequently, even private organisations which are, though not owned or controlled but substantially financed by the appropriate government will also fall within the definition of “public authority” under Section 2(h)(d)(ii) of the Act,” held a Bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri.
The Bench was hearing an appeal filed against a Kerala HC order, holding that all cooperative institutions coming under the administrative control of the Registrar came under the RTI net. The Bench, however, overruled the order.