Skip to main content

PM office denies datewise info on Modi meetings with Adani, invoking unwarranted invasion into privacy clause

By Our Representative
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office does not think that it is obligatory on its part to reveal even elementary information about the date-wise number of visits made by a top tycoon to his official residence in Delhi. This has come from a right to information (RTI) plea by a Gujarat-based citizen by Paragkumar Ashokkumar Patel, who wished to “total number of visits, datewise” by Gautam Adani.
Replying to the RTI plea, which reached the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on May 8, 2015, the PMO said, “The Prime Minister meets people from life not necessarily upon formal request”, which “may or may not be recorded”. Adani, who has emerged lately as the most powerful tycoon of India, is known to be close to Modi for long.
While refusing information under RTI, the PMO states, Modi holds “meetings -- formal and informal -- in connection with functioning of the government, redress people's grievances and meetings with various groups, agencies and officials on issues having prejudicial effect on the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state and relations with foreign states, as well as confidential third party information, etc.”
It further says, “Sometimes, persons meeting even request for these very reasons that the very fact of the meeting having taken place be kept secret.”
The PMO explains, “Though it is not possible to associate concerns relating to prejudicial effect on sovereignty and integrity, the security and interests of the state and relations with foreign states, as well as confidential third party information, etc. with each individual meeting, there may be instances of such meeting being exempt from disclosure of information.”
Taking recourse sections 8 and 11 of the Right to Information Act, the PMO has denied information saying, it “would not be possible to provide the information sought.”
Section 8 provides that no information should be disclosed if it creates an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of any individual, while Section 11 suggests that information may not disclosed if it relates to the third party wants it to be treated as confidential.
Section 11 has been applied despite the fact that Shailesh Gandhi, a former central information commissioner had ruled that it does not give an unrestrained veto to refuse disclosing information, but only an opportunity to voice its objections to disclosing information.
This is the second major instance in about a week’s time when officials around Modi have refused to provide information under the RTI. Earlier, the Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, refused information about the reasons behind sacking of ex-foreign secretary Sujatha Singh early this year.
Well-known RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak, who filed the RTI plea, said, “The Cabinet Secretariat has denied access to the Cabinet note and the list of people who attended the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) meeting as well as all related file notings”, claiming the matter is sub judice.
Comments Nayak, “It is obvious that they do not want to officially reveal the true story behind the unceremonious exit of the last foreign secretary”, adding, “None of the Delhi HC judgements/orders I cited in my RTI application have been stayed till date. Further, the PIOs' contention that the matter is sub judice is not a valid ground for denying access to information under the RTI Act.”
Nayak believes, “The issue of ACC minutes is not just an administrative matter. The appointment of officers or their voluntary retirement is undeniably matters of public interest. They perform public duties and are paid salaries drawn from the taxes contributed by citizens.”

Comments

TRENDING

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Muted profit margins, moderate increase in costs and sales: IIM-A survey of 1000 cos

By Our Representative  The Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad’s (IIM-A's) latest Business Inflation Expectations Survey (BIES) has said that the cost perceptions data obtained from India’s business executives suggests that there is “mild increase in cost pressures”.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Govt putting India's professionals, skilled, unskilled labour 'at mercy of' big business

By Thomas Franco, Dinesh Abrol*  As it is impossible to refute the report of the International Labour Organisation, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran recently said that the government cannot solve all social, economic problems like unemployment and social security. He blamed the youth for not acquiring enough skills to get employment. Then can’t the people ask, ‘Why do we have a government? Is it not the government’s responsibility to provide adequate employment to its citizens?’

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Youth as game changers in Lok Sabha polls? Young voter registration 'is so very low'

By Dr Mansee Bal Bhargava*  Young voters will be the game changers in 2024. Do they realise this? Does it matter to them? If it does, what they should/must vote for? India’s population of nearly 1.3 billion has about one-fifth 19.1% as youth. With 66% of its population (808 million) below the age of 35, India has the world's largest youth population. Among them, less than 40% of those who turned 18 or 19 have registered themselves for 2024 election. According to the Election Commission of India (ECI), just above 1.8 crore new voters (18-and 19-year-olds) are on the electoral rolls/registration out of the total projected 4.9 crore new voters in this age group.