a. Factually it is not “Secret” in terms of usage and operations both. Instead it is a Supportive and Promotional Fund, the expenditure of which is supervised by the Principal Accounting Officer (PA0) of the Ministry as per below listed legal citations. The main advantage of the fund is that prompt action with reasonable justification is taken to address urgent media issues, making its end result-based operations non-au 9. However, a quarterly certificate of expenditure is recorded by PAO, certifying the expenditure incurred in the public interest.
b. The following set of laws and regulations of the land are adduced to legally establish the operations of SSE/SPF:
i. The secret service expenditure is protected under Annual Finance Act (herein 2012-13). It is governed by Article 73-75 of the Constitution, 1973 — which lays down detailed procedure concerning a Money Bill passed by the Parliament, and assented by the President, of which SSE/SPF are written part.
ii. It is explained in Finance Division’s Budget Document (Pages 1230-1231) under following Accounting Codes
Special Publicity Fund
SPF: ID-1357 : Rs. 100 million
Secret Service Expenditure
SSE: ID — 1358 : Rs. 10.20 million
(For a Regional Research Organization)
ID — 1363 : Rs. 30.10 million
iii. Article 19 — A of the Constitution of 1973 demarcates Right to Information (RTI) Framework as under:-
“Every citizen shall have the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance subject to regulations and reasonable restrictions imposed by law”.
iv. It obviously means that Framers of Article 19 —A did have in their mind enforcement of subordinate regulations and restrictions to logically govern Right to Information (RTI) privileges (herein access to information on SSE / SPF operations)”.
(This context is a part of Detailed, forensic audit and investigation for Elections 2013)