CIC asks Home Ministry to trace records of death commutation
An application was filed with the President’s secretariat under the Right to Information (RTI) Act seeking to get the list of convicts since 1970 whose death sentences had been commuted to life imprisonment after the President had considered their mercy pleas.
The application was transferred by the President’s secretariat to the Ministry of Home Affairs. The ministry stated in the reply that the details of death commutation were available only since 1981 which could be provided to the applicant on payment of Rs. 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. as photocopying charges. Also the applicant’s plea for providing him information free of cost was rejected by the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) stating that it cannot be done as the applicant didn’t possess BPL card.
The applicant finally approached the Central Information Commission (CIC) against the ministry’s decision contending that he should be provided complete information that too free of cost.
During the hearing of the case before the CIC, the applicant agreed to pay the photocopy charges but insisted on getting complete information.
The CIC contended that the demanded information was quite disclosable and that the demanded records were not old enough to be untraceable. Hence, the commission has asked the ministry to trace the records of death commutation and disclose them to the appellant.