The Delhi high court on Friday stayed its single judge's order in which it had said that under the Right to Information Act, every citizen is entitled to know the donations given by the President of India.
While staying the single judge's order upholding the CIC's direction to the President's secretariat to make public the names of recipients of the donation, besides their address and the sum of donation given by the first citizen, the bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued a notice to Nitish Kumar Tripathi, the RTI applicant, and sought his response by August 24.
Tripathi had sought information about the donations made by the President between 2009 and 2011.
The bench was hearing an appeal filed by the President's office seeking quashing of the single judge's June 14 order saying "disclosure of informations has no relationship to any public activity or interest. The impugned order is erroneous and liable to be set aside."
"The CIC had directed disclosure of informations without first coming to the conclusion that larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such informations," the appeal said.
While dismissing the plea of Rashtrapati Bhawan against the Central Information Commission's May 4 order to provide the informations to Tripathi, Justice Vipin Sanghi had on June 14 said "every citizen is entitled to know as to how the money, which is collected by the state from him by exaction has been utilised. Merely because the person making the donations happens to be the President of India is no ground to withhold the said information."
"The hon'ble President of India is not immune from the application of the Act (RTI). What is important is that it is a public fund which is being donated by the President and not his/her private fund placed at his /her disposal for being donated amongst the needy and deserving persons."