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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Goa Raj Bhavan gets first RTI application

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After the Goa State Chief Information Commissioner Prashant Tendolkar having on 15th October  ruled that the Goa Raj Bhavan was a Public Authority and comes within the purview of the Right to Information Act, Adv. Aires Rodrigues today filed an RTI application with the Raj Bhavan seeking information on three issues.

Adv. Rodrigues has in his application sought to know details of official and unofficial tours within India and overseas by Governor Mridula Sinha and her family from the day she assumed office as Governor of Goa on 31st August 2014 to date and the total expenditure incurred on each of the tours.

Adv. Rodrigues has further sought details of guests including VIPs, VVIPs and others who stayed at the Goa Raj Bhavan from 31st August 2014 to date and the expenditure incurred on each guest while seeking a break up of amount spent on stay, food and travel.

Adv. Rodrigues has also sought details of vehicles purchased for the Goa Raj Bhavan from 31st August 2014 to date and the expenditure incurred on the purchase of each vehicle.

The Goa State Chief Information Commissioner Prashant Tendolkar on 15th October while disposing the complaint filed Adv. Aires Rodrigues over the non-compliance of the Right to Information Act by the Goa Raj Bhavan had upheld the earlier decisions of the Information Commission that the Raj Bhavan did come within the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

On a complaint filed by Adv. Aires Rodrigues the then State Chief Information Commissioner Mr. Motilal Keny on 31st March 2011 had ruled that the Goa Governor was a “Public Authority” and did come within the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

Later dismissing the appeal filed by the Goa Raj Bhavan against the order of the GSIC, the Bombay High Court at Goa in a landmark 58 page judgment pronounced on 14th November 2011 also ruled that the Governor of Goa was a Public Authority and was bound to furnish information sought under the RTI Act.

Taking a stand that the Goa Governor is not a Public Authority and does not come within the ambit of the RTI Act, the Goa Raj Bhavan later challenged before the Supreme Court the Bombay High Court judgment.  A Division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy on 30th January this year dismissed the Special Leave Petition filed by the Goa Raj Bhavan.

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