Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur has directed the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to disclose the number of files on Subhas Chandra Bose that are still being held by it. The directive came on a plea by Shobhit Goel who had in January 2017 asked the PMO about the number of files available with it related to Subhas Chandra Bose from 1947 to 2016, the number of files which are in public domain and the number of files that have been destroyed or misplaced.
Not getting satisfactory response from the PMO, Goel approached the Central Information Commission with an appeal against the orders of the Central Public Information Officer and the First Appellate Authority. The PMO had transferred his application to the Union Culture Ministry for furnishing the response after over a month, whereas according to the RTI Act it should have been done within five days, Goel underscored.
During the hearing, the PMO officials told Mathur that there were 58 files related to Bose in their office that have already been sent to the National Archives of India. Further, information sought by the appellant is of a sensitive nature and hence it took time to consult the officer concerned to take action in the matter, they said.
Goel said that the respondent has admitted that there were 58 files in their office but the respondent has given wrong information to him regarding the number of files available in the PMO related to Bose, etc. “The Commission is of the view that the respondent should give revised reply to the appellant on point no. 1 (regarding no. of files available in PMO related to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, etc.) of his RTI application dated January 5, 2017,” Mathur said.
He directed the PMO to give response as per his order within seven days. “The respondent (PMO) is advised to ensure that the RTI applications are dealt with due seriousness and transfer the RTI application(s) of the applicants within the stipulated period of time. The concerned deemed CPIO shall be informed by the respondent that such delays are viewed adversely,” he said.