Cabinet communication to president under RTI

Communication between Shankar Dayal Sharma and Narasimha Rao over an ordinance, to go public

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Danish Raza | February 22, 2010



According to the Central Information Commission (CIC), an advice given by the union cabinet to the president can be disclosed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Passing an order on Monday, CIC chief Wajahat Habilullah said according to Article 74(2) of the Constitution, such information cannot be inquired into by any court.
"It does not mean that the nature of this advice cannot be disclosed," he said.
Franklin Ceaser, a resident of Delhi, had filed an RTI application in the president’s secretariat in February 2008 seeking information on the action taken by the then President Shankar Dayal Sharma, for granting scheduled castes status to convert Christian members of the enumerated castes.
The president's secretariat denied the information saying that the issue involved privileged correspondence between the then president and the prime minister, and that it called for exemption under the RTI Act.
Article 74 of the Constitution says that the question, whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by ministers to the president shall not be inquired by any court.
“The object of Article 74(2) was not to exclude any material or documents from the scrutiny of the Courts but to provide that an order issued by or in the name of the president could not be questioned on the ground that it was either contrary to the advice tendered by the ministers or was issued without obtaining any advice from the ministers,” Wajahat said.

 

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