The Raj Bhavan in Goa on Wednesday claimed before the Goa State Information Commission (GSIC) that the Goa Governor was not a “Public Authority” and does not come within the purview of the Right to Information Act.
Secretary to Goa Governor, Rupesh Kumar Thakur, in his 15 page Affidavit in reply filed on Wednesday to the complaint filed by Advocate Aires Rodrigues over the alleged non-compliance of the Right to Information Act by the Raj Bhavan stated that Goa Raj Bhavan was not a legal entity and certainly not a ‘public Authority. The GSIC has fixed the matter for final arguments on July 26.
Pointing out that the Governor enjoys immunity under Article 361 of the Constitution of India and is not answerable to any Court, the Secretary to the Governor in his reply stated that Governor was the appointing authority of the State Information Commissioners and was also vested with the power to recommend their removal.
While denying that all other Raj Bhavans had appointed Public Information Officers, the Secretary to Goa Governor in his reply stated that merely because some other Raj Bhavans had appointed a Public Information Officer did not mean that the Goa Raj Bhavan was bound or compelled by law to also appoint a Public Information Officer.
The Secretary to the Governor further stated that the Governor not being a Public authority could not be compelled or directed by the State Information Commission to appoint a Public Information Officer.
In his complaint, Advocate Aires Rodrigues, under section 18 (1) (a) of the RTI Act, had drawn the attention of the GSIC that the Goa Raj Bhavan despite being a “Public authority’ in terms of section 2 (h) of the RTI Act had not appointed a Public Information Officer (PIO) for members of the public to be able to seek information and that the Goa Raj Bhavan had also not made the mandatory disclosures required under section 4 (1) of the RTI Act.