The Goa governor is not a public authority and cannot be directed or compelled to appoint a public information officer under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Raj Bhavan said on Wednesday.
The Raj Bhavan is not a legal entity and certainly not a public authority, the governor’s secretary, Rupesh Kumar Thakur, stated in a 15-page affidavit submitted to the Goa State Information Commission (GSIC).
The governor, not being a public authority, cannot be compelled or directed by the state information commission to appoint a Public Information Officer (PIO), Thakur stated.
The GSIC has fixed the matter for final arguments on July 26.
The submission was made by the governor’s office in reply to a complaint filed by social activist Aires Rodrigues over the non-compliance of the RTI Act by the Raj Bhavan.
Rodrigues had filed a complaint against the Raj Bhavan recently under the RTI Act, saying that despite being a “public authority”, the Goa Raj Bhavan has not appointed a PIO so far.
The Raj Bhavan’s affidavit said the governor enjoys immunity under Article 361 of the Constitution of India and is not answerable to any court.
Thakur stated that the governor is the appointing authority of the state information commissioners and is also vested with the power to recommend their removal.
He denied Rodrigue’s claims that all other Raj Bhavans in the country have appointed PIOs.
Merely because some other governor houses have appointed PIOs does not mean that the Goa Raj Bhavan is bound or compelled by law to do so, Thakur said.