Right to Information – Master key to good governance

Home ministry refuses Netaji papers to RTI body

Posted by rtiact2005 on September 17, 2006

Home ministry refuses Netaji papers to RTI body
New Delhi,PTI:

The home ministry has refused to supply the Central Information Commission (CIC) with copies of documents presented before two panels that enquired into the disappearance of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, saying the records dated back to over 20 years.

This was reported by a research group — Mission Netaji — which appealed to the CIC, the apex body under the year-old Right to Information Act, to get the ministry to share records produced before the 1956 Shah Nawaz Committee and G D Khosla Inquiry Commission of 1974, which were set up to shed light on the legendary freedom fighter’s fate.

Both inquiries had arrived at the conclusion that Bose died in an air crash in Taipei on August 18, 1945 — a theory still disputed by many.

The appeal came after the Central government rejected the findings of the Justice Mukherjee Inquiry Commision in May.

The Commission’s findings were diametrically opposed to the conclusions made by the 1956 and 1974 inquiry panels.

Mission Netaji had asked the home ministry for the records on June 23 this year, but this was summarily declined on the ground that the documents were classified. The group then appealed to the CIC for the documents on July 29.

“The matter happened more than 20 years from the date of request and as such, it is refused,” the group quoted Deputy Secretary to the government of India, M M Chopra, on its website www.Missionnetaji.Org as saying in his reply to the CIC on August 21.

In his second letter to the CIC four days later, Chopra wrote that final reports of the 1956 and 1974 panels did not contain any list of exhibits unlike the Mukherjee Commission.

Interestingly, the ministry contradicts its own earlier version in a subsequent paragraph of the letter by offering to look for “such exhibits from available records” within the next two months.

Chopra has, in the same letter, said that if such exhibits are found, the ministry would only share them if they are seen to be not containing any sensitive data affecting national interests.

“The documents sought are basic ones, based on which the Shah Nawaz Committee and Khosla inquiry panel had reached their decision about the fate of one of the greatest sons of India,” the group said.

“By no stretch of the imagination can these documents be labelled as containing information, the disclosure of which would prejudicially affect India’s security, strategic interests,” it said.

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