On March 3 this year, the PMO finally replied to RTI activist Subhash Agarwal to say that the third parties had replied to say that the information was confidential and “will have the effect of impending [sic] the ongoing inquiry, investigation and trial.”
The record of deliberations by the Chief Minister “is required to be constitutionally and legally protected from disclosure”, the PMO’s reply quotes the “third parties” as having said. As a result, the PMO refused to provide the information.
While the PMO’s fresh reply does not name the third parties, Mr. Agarwal says that it must refer either to Mr. Vajpayee or Mr. Modi. “From media reports, I believe that Mr. Vajpayee is not in the health to take such a decision. If Mr. Modi took the decision, I want to know if he did it as Gujarat CM or as PM,” Mr. Agarwal told The Hindu .
Mr. Agarwal has filed a first appeal under the RTI Act with the PMO in which he has asked for copies of the objections raised by “third parties.”
Mr. Agarwal has also objected to the PMO stating that the disclosure would affect legal proceedings, noting that the RTI allows exemption for information that would impede investigation, and not for all matters under investigation.
“Making the sought information public can never impede any process of investigation now after 13 long years of the matter for which reports of several enquiry commissions have already been made public,” Mr. Agarwal said.