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Interests of MPs in companies be disclosed:CIC

New Delhi: Pecuniary interests of Members of Parliament in various companies should be made public as it would help people keep "a better watch" on them when they are dealing with legislative matters relating to such firms, the Central Information Commission has held.

Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra, while deciding on a petition, said disclosure of such information is in "larger public interest".

The case relates to an RTI application filed by Anil Bairwal of Association of Democratic Reforms seeking to know from the Rajya Sabha secretariat the details of "remunerative directorship, regular remunerative activity, shareholding of controlling nature, paid consultancy and profession engagement" of the members of the House.

These details are submitted by the MPs under `Register of Members` Interest` under Rule 293 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States.

Bairwal also sought to know the list of members who have not submitted the form and reasons for not doing so.

The Rajya Sabha refused to provide details citing a decision of its Ethics Committee which opined that the information was held in fiduciary capacity and should not be disclosed to public under section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act.

The secretariat said since the disclosure of information has no relationship with to any public activity or interest.

Rejecting the arguments, Mishra said, "The knowledge among the citizens about the pecuniary interest of MPs in various companies and other business establishments would help them to keep a better watch on their representatives when they would be dealing with policy and other legislative matter affecting the interests of such companies and business interests."

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