Skip to main content

Govt of India denies information on gangster Chhota Rajan's passport under RTI, says it's a "personal" matter

By Our Representative
The Union ministry of external affairs (MEA) has rejected the release, under the right to information (RTI) Act, to records relating to the issue of the fake passport of top underworld don Chhota Rajan, whose capture in Indonesia last month was sought to be projected as a major breakthrough by the Government of India.
Upon his arrest in Indonesia, the media reported that he was traveling with a false identity and used a fake passport, which played a key role in his eventual identification by the immigration authorities.
“The MEA invoked Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act to reject the request holding that it was ‘personal information' and also cited a judgment of the Delhi High Court in support of its rejection”, said Venkatesh Nayak, well-known RTI and human rights activist in an email alert.
“In this case the High Court overturned an order of the Central Information Commission to disclose certain information relating to an individual's passport citing absence of public interest”, Nayak, who is with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), said.
“It is not clear whose privacy MEA is desirous of protecting - the fake individual in whose name the passport was issued or the individual who used the fake passport”, wondered Nayak, adding, “It is also strange that a few months ago the same Government expressed doubts about whether Article 21 of the Constitution was correctly interpreted to include the right to privacy of individuals.”
Argued Nayak, “The very constitutional basis for Section 8(1)(j) as a trump on citizens' right to information has disappeared thanks to the submissions of the Government of India made through the Attorney General of India.”
Nayak said, “The MEA gave a vague reply to the query about the procedures followed to determine the legality and correctness of the procedures followed for issue of fresh passports by Indian missions abroad”, adding, “It only replied with information that is already known about the laws and rules that apply for the issue of passports.”
In yet another application filed by Nayak with CBI seeking a copy of the First Information Report (FIR) filed under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1998 in relation to issue of the fake passport, Nayak said, “More than 30 days have passed since the RTI application was dispatched to the CBI via speed post. The CBI has not bothered to reply.”
This has happened despite the fact that the print and electronic media reported that the fake passport had been issued in the name of a person alleged to be a resident of Karnataka. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is said to have registered a First Information Report against unnamed officials under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and launched an investigation.
Nayak said, all this poses a “challenge” before various constitutional courts, adding, “It is most unfortunate that the Prime Minister's noble commitment to make the Central Government more transparent and accountable to the people has simply not percolated down the bureaucracy.”

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Tata Mundra's possible closure? Power ministry's 'pressure tactic' on consumer states

By Bharat Patel*
Tata power has announced to the Union Ministry of Power that Tata Power may be forced to stop operating  its imported coal-based Mundra Ultra-Mega Power Project (UMPP) after February, 2020. It is not only unfortunate but also criminal that irreversible damage has been caused to the fragile ecosystem of Mundra coast for a project that will have a running life of only seven years.

Population control? 10% Indian couples want to delay next pregnancy, but fail

Counterview Desk
Shireen Jejeebhoy, director at Aksha Centre for Equity and Wellbeing, previously senior associate at the Population Council, India, argues that the debate on the country's population was fuelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address to the nation, where he drew attention to “concern” about the challenges posed by this ‘exploding’ population growth, needs to centre around the promotion of rights and education, instead of the language of explosion and the threat of coercion that this term implies.

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.