New Delhi: Allowing a plea of Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict Perarivalan, the CIC has directed the Home Ministry to provide him reports by Justice M C Jain and Justice J S Verma Commissions which looked into the killing of the former Prime Minister, rejecting the Ministry`s arguments that complete reports are not traceable.
Information Commissioner Sushma Singh also directed the RTI appellate authority in VIP Security Wing to pass a speaking order within two weeks on whether file notings generated on these Commissions of inquiry could be disclosed.
She said the concerned official must give a chance to Perarivalan, who is on death row after his mercy petition was rejeted by the President, to present his case.
Citing the issue of life and liberty, Perarivalan had sought certified copies of all the reports submitted by the Jain and Verma Commission besides terms of reference to these Commissions, copies of the action taken by the Government of India on the recommendations of the Commissions.
But despite the provision of providing information within 48 hours if the matter relates to life and liberty of the appellant, all the divisions of the MHA said the matter does not concern them.
The National Archives of India, however, said although it does not have the reports, 918 files are available with it relating to activities of the Commissions.
During the hearing before the Commission, Home Ministry states that it could not locate the files since the records pertain to the period 1991 onwards and the subject matter had been handled in different divisions/Sections in MHA.
"However, as a result of sustained efforts, it has now been possible to locate some records pertaining to Justice MC Jain Commission of inquiry. However, complete records pertaining to Justice J S Verma Commission of inquiry are still not traceable," the Ministry said while trying to explain the delay in responding to application.
The Ministry also said that some of the files contain
inputs given by the Intelligence Bureau and CBI which are exempt organisations under the RTI Act and hence their views are also being sought.
Taking adverse view of the delay in furnishing information to a death row convict, Singh said, "Instead of transferring the RTI application to all CPIOs of MHA, the nodal CPIO should have identified the concerned CPIO and marked the RTI application to him."
"The respondent is hereby directed to provide the copies of the Justice M C Jain Commission of Inquiry and Justice J S Verma Commission of Inquiry reports and also the action taken reports thereon within one week from the receipt of the order," Singh said.
She said as far as information in relation to the file notings/correspondence/minutes are concerned, the appeal is remitted back to the first appellate authority, VIP Security wing to pass a speaking order on the issue within two weeks.
Justice Verma Commission of inquiry was constituted on May 27, 1991 to look into the security lapses which led to the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu on May 21, 1991 by the LTTE cadres and to suggest systamic changes.
Justice Jain Commission looked into the sequence of events leading to the assassination of Gandhi at Sriperumbudur.
Perarivalan along with Murugan and Santhan was sentenced to death in the assassination case. His mercy plea was rejected by President Prathiba Patil in 2011. Their death sentences were confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2000.