Mercy petitions not exempted from RTI Act: CIC
New Delhi: The Central Information Commission
has directed the Rashtrapati Bhavan that mercy petitions filed
before the President do not attract any of the exemption
clauses of the RTI Act and should be disclosed whenever sought
under the transparency law.
The panel was hearing the petition of Mayilsamy K who had
sought to know the details of processing the mercy plea filed
by former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassins Santhan,
Periarivalan and Muragan.
President Pratibha Patil had recently turned down their
clemency petition but the order has been stayed by Madras High
Taking the case on priority, as it was related to 'Life
and Liberty', Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra
said, "All mercy petitions filed before the President of India
either by the persons sentenced to death or others, which have
been taken into consideration by the government, should be
"These are not covered under any of the exemption
provisions of the Right to Information Act."
The Commission, however, exempted the advice given by the
Home Minister to the President as it would be violative of the
Article 74(2) of the Constitution and would not be disclosed
under the Right to Information Act.
On the issue of file notings and communications made
during the processing of mercy petitions, Mishra allowed their
disclosure after severing names of officials who have given
their advice as it could bring their safety in danger. In
reference to communications, he said issues where section
8(1)(a) is attracted can be withheld.
"Disclose the copies of the file notings not forming part
of the ministerial advice to the President of India after
severing all the names and other references regarding the
identities of the public servants regarding those file notings
and making those correspondence," Mishra told the President's