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`Emergency records cannot be made public`

The communication between the then president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and prime minister Indira Gandhi on imposition of Emergency nearly 35 years ago cannot be made public, the President`s Secretariat has said.



New Delhi: The communication between the
then president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and prime minister Indira
Gandhi on imposition of Emergency nearly 35 years ago cannot
be made public, the President`s Secretariat has said.

While withholding the information sought through an RTI
plea, the Secretariat has cited Article 74 of the Constitution
which says that the advice tendered by the Cabinet to the
President "shall not be inquired into in any court".

In his RTI application, SC Agrawal had sought to know
"complete and detailed information" on declaration of internal
emergency in the country by the then president including any
communication or advice received from Gandhi.

The reply from the President`s Secretariat said, "The
information sought is covered under the Article 74 of the
Constitution and hence cannot be disclosed."

"CPIO declined information as covered by Article 74 of
the Constitution and hence not disclosable (sic). But `Right
To Information Act 2005` has an over-riding effect on all
previous provisions, and as such it is not justified to refuse
any information which is not covered by Section 8 of RTI Act,"
Agrawal said in his representation before the Appellate
Authority at the Secretariat.

Quoting a news report on the issue, Agrawal said it
indicated that none of other public authorities including
Prime Minister’s Office, Union Home Ministry or National
Archives of India ever took the information as "undisclosable
(sic)".

"Only thing (according to reports) was that the sought
information could not be practically traced out. Now when the
sought information exists at President`s Secretariat, it
should not be denied because the sought information and
documents are not covered by any of the sub-clauses of Section
8," he said.

According to reports, former IAS officer M G Devasahayam
has also filed a series of RTI application with the PMO
seeking details of the Presidential proclamation of declaring
emergency in the country in 1975. But he could not get the
information as it could not be traced.

The state of emergency was declared by Ahmed on advice
by Gandhi on June 25, 1975 which lasted for 21 months till
March 21, 1977.

PTI

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