No information available on President Murmu returning files for reconsideration, Rashtrapati Bhavan says in RTI response

On files pertaining to States and Union Territories, the Director of Rashtrapati Bhavan said the RTI Act application was being transferred online to the Ministry of Home Affairs

Published - April 23, 2024 08:13 am IST - CHENNAI

President Droupadi Murmu. File

President Droupadi Murmu. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Rashtrapati Bhavan has said that no information is available on President Droupadi Murmu returning any decision taken by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers for reconsideration.

The case pertains to a petition filed by Raj Kapil of Tamil Nadu under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 seeking to know the number of times Ms. Murmu had returned a decision or decisions taken by the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers, the Cabinet, the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), the Parliament, Union Ministries, and Union agencies. He also wanted to know the number of times the President had returned for reconsideration a decision taken by a State or Union Territory Legislature.

Shivendra Chaturvedi, Director, Rashtrapati Bhavan in his reply said no such information was available as regards any decision or decisions taken by the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers, the Cabinet, the Parliament, the ACC, etc., being returned for reconsideration.

On the files pertaining to States and Union Territories, he said the RTI Act application was being transferred online to the “Ministry of Home Affairs being the nodal Ministry and custodian of records in the matter”. He added that the petitioner could file an appeal under Section 19(1) of the Act within a month before the Officer on Special Duty/Appellate Authority in case he was aggrieved or not satisfied with the reply.

Mr. Kapil, a lecturer in criminology, said he was surprised at the response from the Rashtrapati Bhavan since it had neither confirmed nor denied the President of India had returned any decision of the Prime Minister, Council of Ministers, etc., for reconsideration. Even if the Union Home Ministry was the custodian of the files and decisions pertaining to the States and Union Territories, on what basis was the President’s Secretariat not sharing the information requested under the RTI Act, he wondered.

“Merely saying that no such information is available is an incomplete and misleading reply. How can Rashtrapati Bhavan not have such data, which is crucial not only in the constitutional functioning of the President but in ensuring accountability and transparency in the system?” he said.

Earlier instance

A similar response was given by the Rashtrapati Bhavan when a student from Chennai sought to know under the RTI Act the number of times the then President Ram Nath Kovind had returned a decision of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. When the student, Yuvan Mithran, filed an appeal before the First Appellate Authority, he received a reply stating that information called for was not available with the President’s Secretariat.

Ms. Murmu was sworn in as the 15th President of India on July 25, 2022.

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