New Delhi: During the 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised that Rs 15 lakh would be deposited in people’s bank accounts after the black money stashed abroad is brought back. Two years later, the Prime Minister’s Office had received a Right To Information (RTI) query asking about those Rs 15 lakh. Now, the PMO’s reply has come to the fore. Mohan Kumar Sharma by way of an RTI query had asked on November 26, 2016 as to when those Rs 15 lakh would be deposited in the bank accounts of each citizen as promised by PM Modi.
The RTI application was filed just days after PM Narendra Modi announced the demonetisation move, banning high-currency Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes on the night of November 08, 2016. In its reply, the PMO has said that such a query does not fall under the definition of “information” as per the Right To Information Act. It then returned the RTI application, saying it cannot be answered. The Prime Minister’s Office’s response has now been conveyed to the Central Information Commission as well.
Sharma had told Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur during the course of hearing on his RTI application that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as well as the Reserve Bank of India had not shared complete information with him. “The respondent no. 1 (PMO) stated…they have informed the appellant that information sought by him on point nos. 1 and 4 (regarding date of deposit of Rs 15 lakh in the account of each citizen as promised by PM Narendra Modi; how print media houses came to know before the announcement of PM Narendra Modi about the demonetisation, etc.) of the RTI application does not fall under the definition of ‘information’ as per Section 2(f) of the RTI Act,” Mathur noted.
Section 2 (f) of the RTI Act states that “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information concerning any private body which a public authority can access under any other law for the time being in force.
“The action/steps taken by the respondent nos. 1 (PMO) and 2 (RBI) in dealing with the RTI application are satisfactory,” Mathur noted.