Secret files about Netaji’s wife and daughter not to be disclosed
A group called “Mission Netaji” has filed several RTI applications concerning Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. Chandrachur Ghose, who is a part of the group, filed a Right to Information (RTI) application in April 2013, seeking copies of documents contained in three PMO files relating to the widow and daughter of Netaji.
The PMO had denied the information claiming exemption from disclosure under Section 8(1)(a)
Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence;
read with section 8(2)
Notwithstanding anything in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923) nor any of the exemptions permissible in accordance with sub-section (1), a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.
of the Right to Information Act, 2005. The applicant was informed that the three files in question are classified and disclosure of the documents contained in them would prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries. Ghose is writing a biography on Netaji and he argued that keeping these files secret would fuel conspiracy theories, in view of debate regarding Netaji’s marriage in certain quarters.
The matter recently came up before the CIC which has upheld the PMO's stand of refusing the declassification of the files. The bench of Rajiv Mathur observed that “It is not for us to substitute our judgment on the applicability of exemptions to that agency duly authorized to determine such issues…… In view of the above, and Central Public Information Officer's submission that due diligence has been exercised, we uphold the decision of denying the information.”