The details of foreign visits undertaken by National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and expenses incurred on them should be made public, the Central Information Commission has held.
Hisar-based RTI applicant Ramesh Verma had sought to know from the PMO, information on the foreign visits of Sonia Gandhi, the costs incurred on them, benefits and purpose of these visits.
“It seems Parliamentary Affairs ministry had informed that the Central government had incurred no expenditure on the foreign visits of Sonia Gandhi during the last 10 years. However the Cabinet Secretariat has no knowledge if any information has been given to the applicant in respect of her foreign visits as Chairperson of the National Advisory Council,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra pointed out while directing the PMO to provide the details.
Pulling up the PMO for “casual handling” of the RTI application in this regard, Mishra directed it to ensure, in future, that information seeking pleas should be sent to concerned ministries only.
The application received by the PMO on February 26, 2010 was transferred to External Affairs Ministry on March 16, 2010 and further forwarded to Parliamentary Affairs Ministry on March 26, 2010.
“One thing is for sure that, in this case, the RTI request has been handled very casually. It was originally addressed to the CPIO of the PMO. CPIO should have taken care to find out which exact Ministry in the Central Government was concerned and should have transferred the application to that Ministry or Ministries.