Cabinet decision of 2004 regarding removal of refugees settled close to Feozeshah Kotla archaeological monument - Until the cabinet decision is fully implemented, minutes of the meeting cannot be disclosed
1. Referring to some Cabinet decision of 2004, the Appellant had wanted to get a copy of that Cabinet decision. He had also wanted the comments of the CPIO in case he would decide to deny the information by referring to the provisions of section 8(1) (i) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The CPIO of the Cabinet Secretariat had transferred this RTI application to the Ministry of Culture which, in turn, transferred it to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to respond to the Appellant. It seems the ASI did not provide any information to the Appellant.
2. The fact of this case is that around the time India was partitioned, the parents of the Appellant were settled as refugees close to the Feozeshah Kotla archaeological monument along with a large number of other similar refugees. The ASI has been for many years now trying to remove them from this location as per the provisions of the law which governs the protected monuments. The settlers, however, have been demanding allotment of alternate land for rehabilitation and resettlement before being removed from the present site. It seems this matter has been pending for a final decision with the government for a very long time. The last decision in the matter was taken in 2004. However, it is understood that the Cabinet decision of 2004 was yet to be implemented, even after nearly 9 years. Because the Cabinet decision has not been implemented and the matter is still not complete, the ASI is not willing to disclose this information in terms of the provisions of section 8(1) (i) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
3. After carefully considering the facts of the case, we tend to endorse the views of the ASI in the matter. Even if it is unfortunate, the Cabinet decision of 2004 is still not implemented. Until it is fully implemented, information relating to this Cabinet decision including the minutes of the Cabinet meeting cannot be disclosed to anyone. The Appellant would have to wait till the decision is implemented.
4. The appeal is disposed off accordingly.
Chief Information Commissioner
Citation: Lt. Col. (Retd) Subhash Chander Kalra, v. Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of Culture, Archaeological Survey of India, in File No.CIC/SM/A/2013/000023