Live Mint
New Delhi

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to ensure that the records of correspondence between the prime minister and the president concerning the proclamation of the emergency in 1975 be “retrieved or traced” for access to the citizens.

The PMO, in reply to a Right to Information (RTI) application, had said that “no such records were available” with it. The CIC, in its judgement dated 3 February, observed that it was “somewhat surprising” that the PMO did not have the records.

“The records relating to such an important event in the history of post-independence India should be carefully preserved for future and cannot be allowed to get lost in the labyrinth of the government offices,” the order said. “We would like the competent authorities in the PMO to enquire into this matter and to ensure that these records are retrieved or traced, wherever they might be, and should be preserved appropriately for the citizens to access.”

The RTI application filed with the PMO had sought details of correspondence between then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed related to the emergency. During a hearing on 3 February, respondents from the PMO argued that they “indeed” could not locate any such records and so the status had been “truthfully” informed to the applicant.

RTI experts believe the information would be an “important piece of national history” that has not been available till now.

“It is completely unbelievable that the PMO does not have the records,” said Jagdeep Chhokar, founding member of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a New Delhi-based non-governmental organization. “There is a huge paper trail. How can they say all of it has gone missing?”

Chhokar said the order should also have stipulated the time in which the enquiry needed to be completed and asked for a compliance report.

© Association for Democratic Reforms
Privacy And Terms Of Use
Donation Payment Method