Monday, 22 October, 2007

"PMO not bound to disclose list of secret Netaji files"

Prime Minister's Office has informed Central Information Commission that it is under no obligation under the RTI Act to disclose information relating to list of secret files on Subhas Chandra Bose. The assertion follows the CIC's notice to PMO over an appeal by Mission Netaji's Anuj Dhar, who sought the list in October last year, but was denied.

"Disclosure of information relating to list of classified files being held in this office will prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries, writes PMO's Central Public Information Officer Kamal Dayani. "In view of that, there was no obligation for this office to disclose information to this information seeker."

PMO wants the appeal to CIC "be dismissed as not maintainable" because it seeks information protected by Sections 8(1)(a) and (f) of the RTI Act.

Dhar had asked the PMO to confirm if they were holding several classified records/materials on Subhas Bose, and requested for descriptive lists of classified and unclassified records. He also inquired if the PMO had any plan to transfer these records/materials to the National Archives.

In reply, the PMO furnished a list of unclassified files (see below) and stated that "an exercise was underway to review classified files held by PMO for declassification and on declassification such files would be sent to National Archives". There was no word on the classified (secret) files.

Subsequently, Dhar approached the Appellate Authority in the PMO only to be told that the details about classified files cannot be provided.

In his appeal to CIC, Dhar argued that "it defies common sense as to how the disclosure of a mere list of files on and about a national hero, whom the Government holds to have died more than 60 years ago in an accident, can prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries in 2006-2007".

1 comment:

Arani said...

Surely then the CIC has to decide upon a date of hearing on this matter. Has any date been provided so far?