The Prime Minister’s Office has refused to part with records related to its affidavit filed in Allahabad High Court in response to a writ petition seeking probe into allegations made against Robert Vadra on controversial land deals, saying these are “confidential.”
Lucknow-based RTI activist Nutan Thakur had filed a writ petition last year before the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court seeking probe into the allegations of irregular land dealings against Mr. Vadra levelled by Arvind Kejriwal.
It was dismissed by the Bench after Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, appearing on behalf of the Centre, had submitted that the petition was based on general newspaper reports which cannot be treated as true.
In its affidavit, the PMO had termed the allegations regarding irregular land dealings between Mr. Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and real estate major DLF as “false, based on heresay and vexatious.”
Mr. Thakur, through an RTI application, wanted to know all the file notings related to the PMO affidavit before the High Court. She also wanted to know from the top office action taken after receiving her petition.
In it first reply, the PMO has claimed that since the matter was “sub-judice”, the records cannot be disclosed to her. She argued that such details can only be withheld when there is explicit order from the court for not disclosing it.
Later, the PMO said, “The office, keeping in view the Supreme Court ruling, has sought exemption as the matter has been treated as confidential.”
It quoted a Supreme Court order which said the exemption under section 8(1)(e) (of the RTI Act) is available not only in regard to information that is held by a public authority in a fiduciary capacity, but also to any information that is given or made available by a public authority to anyone else for being held in fiduciary capacity.
“In other words, anything given and taken in confidence expecting confidentiality to be maintained will be information available to a person in fiduciary capacity,” it said.