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The Constitution Club of India on the posh Rafi Marg here has been declared public authority under the RTI Act by the Central Information Commission making it answerable to people's queries under the transparency law.
A division bench of the Commission comprising Information Commissioners Sudhir Bhargava and Sridhar Acharyulu declared the club as public authority, saying it was "directly funded" by the government.
The Commission rejected the arguments of the club that it is "completely self-funded".
"The Constitution club spends public money for public representatives. The Constitution, common sense, provisions of RTI Act, Parliamentary control through Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Secretary demand that it should be public authority and its information be accessible under RTI law," it said.
The club had contended there is no control of any nature or to any degree exercised by any Government over it or its management of activities.
"Merely because certain ceremonial positions in the governing council of the club have been reserved for certain state dignitaries, it does not make the club a government-controlled body," the club had claimed.
It had said that it does not received any fund, grant or financial support whatsoever from any government or state or public entity or from any source other than membership subscriptions or charges.
The club said the land and building in which it is housed has not been allotted by any government to the club and it is a licensee of the government in the said building and is paying licence fee to it.
"The contention that they never claimed any concessions from the government fails totally. The CCI is enjoying enormous concessions and manages valuable immovable properties, besides getting a new building and possession of suites etc.
"This substantial funding, if withdrawn, the CCI cannot function even for a minute," the Commission held in the order while declaring the club a public authority.
The Commission said the club has claimed that they are paying Rs 100 rent per month, which was not reflected in their annual statements and observed that either the club is not paying rent or there could be no rent at all as neither the club nor the government offices produced any lease deed.
"It seems there is neither lease nor the deed. There is no evidence to show any licence related documents. The CCI is surviving on the lands and properties of the Union government. It is absolutely dependent upon the state property. It has no source of income of its own. The CCI makes income only with the land and buildings in the heart of national capital," the Bench said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)