Perarivalan seeks action against Raj Bhavan PIO for delaying info

Convict in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case demands ₹1 lakh

A.G. Perarivalan, a life convict in the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, has moved the Tamil Nadu Information Commission seeking disciplinary action against the Public Information Officer (PIO) of Raj Bhavan and imposition of penalty for “deliberately” not furnishing information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

In December 2015, he wrote to the Governor appealing for remission of sentence under Article 161 of the Constitution. Since there was no response, he filed a petition under the RTI Act seeking to know the action taken on his application.

He sought copies of the day-to-day progress, the complete file along with the noting, correspondence with other departments, officials who handled the file, etc in a flow chart format. In the meantime, the Tamil Nadu Cabinet passed a resolution recommending the release of all seven convicts in the case.

On December 12, 2019, Perarivalan received a reply from the Under Secretary/PIO, Raj Bhavan, stating: “I am to inform that the matter is under process.” Pointing out that the reply was “vague, ambiguous, incomplete and misleading”, he said the information should have been disclosed proactively under Section 4(1)(b)(v) of the RTI Act. But the PIO’s reply was “evasive”.

Perarivalan said: “The reply merely states that my application is under process, which even I know very well…the whole purpose of making a RTI request is because my application is pending for about four years, while other similar applications for remission are processed and decided.”

In his appeal to the Commission, he said it was the duty of the CPIO to provide clear, cogent and precise response to information seekers. The CPIO should communicate the reasons for the rejection of information sought, he said.

While the President’s Secretariat and Governors’ Secretariat of various States were displaying information on RTI Act petitions on their respective websites, he was “forced” to seek information by way of a petition, since there was no such display of information on the official website of the Tamil Nadu Governor.

He appealed to the Commission to direct the public authority to pay a compensation of ₹ 1 lakh under Section 18(b) of the Act for the “loss and mental agony” suffered by him and his aged parents. He also demanded disciplinary action against the PIO and levy of ₹ 250 per day (from the date of RTI petition) as penalty. Acting on an earlier similar appeal, the Central Information Commission in February forwarded his petition to the TNIC for “necessary action”.

Last week, the Supreme Court directed the State government to file a report on the status of his mercy petition after expressing displeasure over the lack of progress made by the CBI on the aspect of whether Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination was the culmination of a “larger conspiracy”.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 5:33:41 PM |

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