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  1. #1
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    C J Karira
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    Default ‘AWWA is welfare body, not under RTI’


    ‘AWWA is welfare body, not under RTI’


    Chandigarh, June 25: CAN an NGO, Army Wives Welfare Organisation (AWWA), have an office adjacent to the office of GOC-in-C Western Command in the high security zone of Western Command Headquarter? Can serving officers be attached or employed with AWWA?
    These and some other questions were asked under the RTI Act from the Western Command authorities but the latter refused to entertain the query. It replied, “AWWA, being an NGO and a welfare organisation, does not fall within the purview of the RTI Act.”

    Guneet Chaudhary, lawyer, vide an application to Public Information Officer (PIO) Western Command sought information regarding the Army’s association with AWWA, an NGO constituted with the aim of welfare of wives and children of Army officers and jawans as well as rehabilitation of war widows.

    The applicant, while seeking information, relied upon the report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India which pointed out an unauthorised expenditure of Rs 75 crore by spouses of Air force and Army chiefs who are presidents of AWWA and AFWWA. The report also indicted the Army for irregularities in hiring of light vehicles and their misuse for AWWA.

    Chaudhary specifically sought information regarding the legal status of AWWA, source of funding, serving officers/other ranks deployed on AWWA duties, provisions under which AWWA is using Army building/infrastructure in top security zones, details of rent, if any, paid by AWWA to the Army, details of welfare activities undertaken by AWWA, details of amount spent on travelling and other facilities provided to AWWA president Western Command, AWWA’s annual audited balance sheets, list of war widows who have been given grants by AWWA, etc.

    Surprisingly, the PIO, through letter dated June 18, 2007, told the applicant that since AWWA is a welfare organisation and an NGO, it is not a public authority and also not within the purview of the RTI Act.
    However, the definition of Public Authority as provided under Section 2h(d) of the RTI Act includes an NGO substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the government. Since AWWA got the initial corpus from the Ministry of Defence and is funded from different heads like canteen profits and various grants of the Ministry of Defence earmarked for the welfare of defence personnel, it’s very much a Public Authority under the RTI Act.

    As per the applicant, the reply forwarded by the Public Information Officer amounts to deliberate denial of information and as such makes the officer liable for penal action under the RTI Act.
    Chaudhary is now planning to approach the appellant authority in the matter. He said, “The Army has a negative attitude towards complying with the provisions of the RTI Act 2005. The PIO appointed at various Army locations are naïve.”

    ‘AWWA is welfare body, not under RTI’



  2. #2
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    Default Re: ‘AWWA is welfare body, not under RTI’


    I think AWWA should come within the purview of the RTI act

  3. #3
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    Ganpat
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    Default Re: ‘AWWA is welfare body, not under RTI’


    RTI: Army fails to respond to application seeking information on AWWA status

    Chandigarh, July 09: After not getting a response to his Right to Information application filed with the ADG-PIO, Army Headquarters, South Block, New Delhi, on May 28, 2007, regarding the functioning of the AWWA, Supreme Court advocate Guneet Chaudhary has now appealed to the appellate authority in the matter.

    Full details of the news available at:
    RTI: Army fails to respond to application seeking information on AWWA status

  4. #4
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    C J Karira
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    Default Re: ‘AWWA is welfare body, not under RTI’



    Many thanks Ganpat for this.
    Actually. Like smnislam, I also feel that AWWA should be a PA as defined in the RTI Act.
    Once the two appeals, reach the CIC, the matter will be clarified once and for all.

  5. #5
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    Col NR Kurup (Retd)
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    Default Re: ‘AWWA is welfare body, not under RTI’


    I think I have replied this issue many times at various forums. AWWA cannot escape from the ambit of theRTI Act. Though the wife of Army commander is its President, it is run by serving Army Officers and government staff. This is akin to the PM's relief Fund. I was surprised to see that this issue is not settled tillnow.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: ‘AWWA is welfare body, not under RTI’


    awwa is also utilising quite a bit of prime defence land in many stations.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: ‘AWWA is welfare body, not under RTI’


    not only awwa but also other NGO like womens organisations of wifes of govt. officials which operate from govt. land and buildings and use official resourses/facilities should also be brought within the purview of the RTI act

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