CHENNAI: The Ministry of Home Affairs has turned down an RTI application from K Mayilsamy, a Supreme Court advocate, seeking information about mercy petitions and other documents filed by various individuals and groups for Perarivalan, Santhan and Murugan.
Mayilsamy sought the information under Section 7(1) of the Act.
The advocate had gone to the Ministry to collect the details on Friday, but was not able to get through. He said that officials told him that the information could not be claimed as already the mercy petitions of the trio had been dismissed by the President.
“Officials told me that constitutional rights to the trio have been exhausted,” he said. The applicant asked for the information to support the petition to be filed on Monday in the Madras High Court.
Attached is an interesting and well argued order from the CIC relating to information sought about mercy petitions of the trio accused in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination.
The CIC ruled:
(i) Mercy Petitions:
He shall provide the copies of the Mercy petitions not only by the
three persons themselves but by others on their behalf which have
been taken into consideration from time to time.
(ii) File notings:
He shall disclose the copies of the file notings not forming part of
the ministerial advice to the President of India after severing all the
names and other references regarding the identities of the public
servants regarding those file notings and making those
He shall also disclose the copies of the correspondence made from
time to time in connection with the mercy petitions except those,
which in his opinion should not be disclosed being exempt in terms
of Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act. If he decides to withhold some of
the correspondence, he shall pass a speaking order. Needless to say,
the Complainant will be free to approach the Appellate Authority if
he is not satisfied with the decision of the CPIO.
Interesting to note that as per the copy uploaded on CIC website, the order has been authenticated by Additional Registrar (Law). Normally orders of CIC S. Mishra are authenticated by the Designated Officer and Asst. Registrar Mr Vijay Bhalla. Wonder why ?
The Central Information Commission has directed the Union home ministry to provide copies of file notings and correspondence on the mercy pleas of Rajiv Gandhi assassins – Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan – who have been awarded a death sentence.
Treating the petition of the Delhi human rights activist and Supreme Court lawyer K. Mayilsa-my as a “fit case concerning life and liberty”, Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra directed the ministry to provide the relevant information within seven working days.
The President’s office had transferred Mr Mayilsamy request for information on the rejection of the mercy pleas to the home ministry, which, however, refused to give it, claiming exemption from the provisions of the Right to Information Act.
Pulling up the ministry for its refusal, Mr Mishra directed it to disclose the file notings and the correspondence, however, allowing it to remove names and references to public servants considering the sensitivity of the case.
“Needless to say, the complainant will be free to approach the appellate authority if he is not satisfied with the CPIO’s decision,” the order said.
Speaking to DC, Mr Mayilsamy said it was the fundamental right of the three prisoners, who are facing the gallows, to know why their mercy pleas were rejected.
“Since it took 11 long years for the President to reject their plea, it is crucial to see whether there was any unreasonable delay in the matter,” he said.
“Since the correspondence made does not form part of the ministerial advice to the President, it could be disclosed,” Mr Mishra said.