NEW DELHI: All Indian missions abroad come under the purview of the Right to Information Act, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled.
"Since the Indian missions are set up by the foreign ministry, they come under the ambit of the Right to Information Act," the CIC said in a recent order.
The ruling came while the CIC was hearing an appeal by Anju Musafir, who sought information related to the issue of visa to a French national who was to join as a faculty member in the Mahatma Gandhi International School in Ahmedabad.
Information Commissioner O P Kejriwal directed the consular, passport and visa division of the external affairs ministry to provide the information to Musafir by April 25 after collecting it from the Indian embassy in Paris.
During the hearing, the Commission was informed that though Musafir's application was forwarded to the Indian embassy in Paris, she did not get a proper reply.
Defending non-disclosure of information, the ministry and other authorities took the plea that missions abroad were not covered by the RTI Act.
Musafir had first filed an application with the Public Information Officer of MEA on July 19, 2006 to seek information related to the denial of visa by an Indian consulate to French national Benjamin Mailian.
The CIC referred the matter of mode of payment to Indian missions by information seekers to the MEA and Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) for necessary recommendations for amending the Act, which was silent on the issue.