The Delhi high court has held that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which get government funds should come under the purview of RTI Act making it mandatory for them to disclose information pertaining to their functioning. The term public authority has been given a broad meaning not only to include bodies which are owned, controlled or substantially financed directly or indirectly by the government but even NGOs, which are financed directly or indirectly by the government, justice Sanjeev Khanna said while declaring the stock exchanges as public authorities in a recent order.
The court said it is not necessary that the government should have pervasive and deep control over an organization to bring it under the purview of the Transparency Act. Even private organizations, which are enjoying benefit of substantial funding directly or indirectly from the governments, fall within the definition of public authorities under the Act, the court said.
The court made these observations while passing an order on a petition filed by the National Stock Exchange (NSE) challenging a Central Information Commission order which had directed it to disclose information under the Act. The court dismissed the NSE plea that it cannot be forced to reveal information to public under RTI.