The Chief Information Commissioner RK Mathur has asked the Prime Minister’s Office to disclose the names of people who accompany Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his international trips, PTI reported.
Mathur’s orders came when the Central Information Commission – the final authority to decide Right to Information issues – was hearing two separate cases where RTI applicants said they were not given proper answers to questions about the prime minister’s delegation on foreign trips.
When the PMO said it was against giving out this information for “national security” reasons, Mathur rejected it saying, “The Commission is of the view that the name, list of non-government persons [having no connection with the security] who had accompanied the Prime Minister on his international visits...should be provided to the appellant.”
Mathur said the PMO need not disclose names of security personnel and people linked to the prime minister’s security detail.
The applicants, Neeraj Sharma and Ayub Ali, said did not receive a proper response to their applications. Sharma said his RTI application asked for a list of chief executive officers, owners or partners of private businesses who travel with Modi on his international trips. He told Mathur the PMO responded saying the information he asked for cannot be disclosed and was exempted under Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act.
“Sharma said this same information was available on the website during the tenure of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” Mathur pointed out.
Ali wanted to know monthly expenses of Modi’s residence and office, the procedure to meet him and the number of meetings the prime minister holds with the public at his home and office.
Mathur has asked the PMO to provide the information within 30 days.