The CIC has asked the government to take a view on disclosure of two speeches made by Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah during pre-independence era which are in the archives of All India Radio and explain the reasons for withholding them if it intends to do so.

The Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said more than 60 years after the country’s independence, time has come when all concerned must decide what information relating to pre-Independence period should be made available to public.

“It is easy for any public authority to take the stand that everything relating to Pakistan or the leaders who went over to Pakistan should be kept secret or confidential and invoke the provisions of Section 8(1)(a) and not disclose the details. This will be a regressive stand,” Mr. Mishra said.

Students of history and members of general public interested in knowing about the most important period of India’s history would always like to have access to such valuable records, he said.

“It is the duty of the state to make such records available freely to the public so that the citizenry becomes informed and the research scholars get valuable material,” Mr. Mishra said in his order.

The case relates to RTI application filed by activist Subhash Agrawal who sought copy of speeches given by Jinnah during pre-independence days which are held in the archives of All India Radio.

Prasar Bharti first claimed that they are trying to trace the recording, and later informed that these recordings cannot be disclosed citing section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act.

The clause cited by Prasar Bharti allows to withhold information disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence.

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