New Delhi: The guests at the tea-party
hosted at Rashtrapati Bhavan on the eve of Independence Day
and Republic Day are "personal invitees" of the President
whose identity could not be disclosed, the President`s
Secretariat has said.
The Secretariat has said the list of invitees has been
treated as private because this is a list of the President`s
"personal invitees selected from among the members of the
public" and come under fiduciary relationship.
"Besides the list has remained uniform and, therefore,
its disclosure could pose a security threat for some if
placed in the public domain," Central Public Information
Officer Faiz Ahmed Kidwai said in reply to an RTI application.
The stand taken by the President`s Secretariat has also
been vetted by the Ministry of Law and Justice which opined
that the invitation is extended by the President of India and
it would be his discretion to request the pleasure of the
company of any invitee.
The Law Ministry said the recommendations, if any, for
extending the invitation for the "at home" tea party hosted on
Rashtrapati Bhavan Campus are in "fiduciary relationship" and
thus exempted from disclosure under the transparency law.
"A fiduciary relationship includes not only legal and
technical relations but extends to every possible case in
which a fiduciary relationship exists in fact and to which
there is confidence reposed on one side and relating
domination and influence on the other," the ministry opined.
The case relates to the RTI application filed by one S
Ganapathi of Andhra Pradesh who wanted to know the list of
NGOs Non-Governmental Organisations along with their postal
addresses, contact number which attended "At Home Tea Party"
with former President APJ Abdul Kalam on the eve of Republic
day and Independence day.
The Department of Personnel and Training has also
expressed similar opinion on the disclosure of the guest list.
"Who, except the official invitees, should be invited to
the `At Home function` is a private affair of he President
which has no relationship with any public activity or
interest. Disclosure of this information would amount to
unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the President," it