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NGOs getting govt funds come under RTI says SC in historic verdict


New Delhi, Sep 18: The Supreme Court has said that non-governmental organisations which are substantially financed by the government are covered under the definition of public bodies and hence come under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

A Bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said that they had no hesitation in holding that an NGO substantially financed directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate government would be a public authority amenable to the provisions of the RTI.

File photo of Supreme Court

"A society which may not be owned or controlled by the government, may be an NGO but if it is substantially financed directly or indirectly by the government it would fall within the ambit of sub-clause (ii) of the Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005," the Bench also noted.

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The court said that substantial means a large portion and it does not necessarily have to be a major portion or more than 50 per cent. No hard and fast rule can be laid down in this regard and substantial financing can be both direct and indirect.

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