Wednesday April 11 2007 00:00 IST
<SMALL>KANNUR: The letters written by leaders of various political parties, extending support to Manmohan Singh for the formation of a government at the Centre, have become a matter of controversy with the refusal of the President’s Secretariat to issue photocopies of these letters under the Right to Information Act.
Various political parties including the Karunanidhi-led DMK, CPM, CPI, RJD and other allies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had handed over letters extending support to Manmohan Singh to the President before the formation of the Union Government. The reason cited for refusing to issue the copies of the letters by Nitin Wakankar, Central Public Information Officer, Rashtrapathi Bhavan, is that these letters were given under a ‘‘fiduciary relationship’’ between the authors of the letter and the President and that this came under Section 8(e) of the RTI Act.
The argument of the Central Public Information Officer of the Rashtrapati Bhavan is now being challenged by the Thalassery-based People’s Council for Civil Rights headed by T Asafali through an appeal petition filed with the Internal Financial Adiviser and Appellate Authority under the RTI Act at the President’s Secretariat. Asafali’s request seeking photocopies of the letters written by the leaders of the UPA allies had earlier been rejected by the Central Public Information Officer.
In his appeal petition filed with Rasika Chaube, Appellate authority under the RTI Act at the President’s Secretariat, Asafali has contented that ‘‘there is no question of existence of a fiduciary relationship’’ between President of India and the leaders of the parliamentary parties.
‘‘Since some of the coalition partners who offered support to Manmohan Singh for forming government at the Centre are now speaking against it as if there is a change of circumstance, people are entitled to know the contents of the letters,’’ argues Asafali in his appeal petition.
The Appellate authority at the Rashtrapati Bhavan is yet to respond to the appeal petition filed by Asafali.</SMALL>
<SMALL>Welcome to Newindpress.com</SMALL>
Re: Rashtrapati Bhavan denies copies under RTI Act
In a landmark order, the CIC has allowed the disclosure of the letters of support.
It has rejected the concept of "fiduciary" relationship (Sec 8(1)(e)) between the President and the Leaders of Political parties as well as taken into account the fact that those very leaders themselves disclosed the contents of those letters of support to the media.