The Finance Ministry has challenged before the Delhi High Court an order of Central Information Commission directing it to designate at least one officer to whom RTI applications related to Ministry can be addressed.
The Finance Ministry has five departments-- Economic Affairs, Revenue, Expenditure, Financial Services and Disinvestment.
Each one of them have different sets of Central Public Information Officers for processing RTI applications but there is none to process queries which are directed to the Ministry.
"In case a CPIO is appointed for the Ministry of Finance, the implementation of the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005 and processing of all RTI applications of all departments of the Ministry of Finance would become difficult and extremely time consuming which will result in prejudice to the citizens of the country as well," Finance Ministry has pleaded before the High Court.
The case relates to RTI application filed by Subhash Agrawal seeking information related to use of currency notes to felicitate the then Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati in 2010. Agrawal had addressed his application to the CPIO of the Finance Ministry.
The Ministry returned the application claiming that they do not have any such officer for the Ministry following which Agrawal approached CIC seeking redressal of his complaint.
Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra ordered, "We have something called a Ministry of Finance with a Finance Secretary in position. Therefore it is rather odd that the Ministry does not itself have a CPIO. Even if it is admitted that the Ministry operates through various departments under it, the Ministry itself is in existence as a public authority and, therefore, it needs to have a CPIO."