Order whereby Gandhiji was declared ‘Rastrapita’ - PIO requested appellant to visit & conduct a research from the available records as the information did not exist in the form as sought - CIC: controversies in such matters are hurtful & should be avoided
Provide a copy of order of the Government of India whereby Shri Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was declared “Rastrapita”.
Grounds for the Second Appeal: The PIO has not given the desired information.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing: The following were present
Respondent: Mr. Rajmani CPIO M: 9968266747 & other
The appellant was given an opportunity to participate in the hearing, through Video Conferencing, however, she remained absent. The CPIO stated that it can be seen from the appellant’s 2nd appeal to the Commission dated 28/5/2012 that she is requesting for a copy of the order by which Shri Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was given the title of “Rastrapita”, however, there is no such order/document on record and they can furnish an appropriate declaration, if required.
Decision Notice: Perusal of the file indicates that the RTI application initially filed with the Prime Minister’s Office was transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs and subsequently to the CPIO, National Archives of India. The CPIO & Assistant Director of the Archives by a letter dated 26.03.2012 responded stating that “….. as per search among the public records in the National Archives of India, there is no specific document on the information being sought….”. However, the CPIO added that a large number of public records related to Mahatma Gandhi existed in the Archives, which she may search from among the available public records and Library material and the Appellant was assured to be provided with all facilities, as per the rules, to facilitate her research work. Since the Appellant conveyed by her First Appeal dated 07.04.2012 that she was unable to understand the purport of the CPIO’s letter and once again sought the same information, the First Appellate Authority by his communication dated 04.05.2012 responded back in vernacular confirming the CPIO’s response. It was clarified to the Appellant by the said communication that documentation with respect to any “title” etc. conferred upon any person by the Government of India does not fall within the purview of the National Archives. It was also stated that various Ministries/Departments of the Government of India usually in regular course of business transfer voluminous documents which do not contain specific reference number. Consequently, a detailed and tedious research work is required to locate any particular information which is not possible to be undertaken by any official for reasons specified under Section 7 (9) of the RTI Act 2005. Once again, the Appellant was requested to visit the Archives and conduct a research from among the documents in the Library and collect from the available records the desired information which required time consuming detailed research, since the information did not exist in the form as sought by the Appellant. Certain published reports indicate that the phrase “Father of the Nation” was first used by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in his message to Gandhiji on Azad Hind Radio, from Rangoon on 4th June, 1944: "...........Nobody would be more happy than ourselves if by any chance our countrymen at home should succeed in liberating themselves through their own efforts or by any chance, the British Government accepts your `Quit India' resolution and gives effect to it. We are, however proceeding on the assumption that neither of the above is possible and that a struggle is inevitable. Father of our Nation in this holy war for India's liberation, we ask for your blessings and good wishes…” The CPIO has stated that there is no order/document on record by which Gandhiji was given the title of “Rastrapita”. Gandhiji is reverently called the “Father of the Nation/Rastrapita” by the entire country. The title is not dependent on the presumed presence or absence of official records. His supreme role in the freedom struggle of our Nation is an incontrovertible part of our proud legacy. Needless controversies in such matters are hurtful and should be avoided by all. We say no more. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Ms. Aishwarya Parashar v. Archives National Archives of India in File No. CIC/BS/A/2012/000790/3198