'Atal-Narayanan letters too sensitive for public'

Observing that the constitution bars the disclosure of the advice given by the council of ministers to the president, the Delhi high court has set aside a Central Information Commission (CIC) order to the central government. The CIC had asked the government to reveal the communication between the former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the then president K R Narayanan about the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The central government had approached the high court against the CIC order, in which the information body had called for the correspondences to examine whether their disclosure would serve or harm the public interest, after which it would issue appropriate orders in a case of C Ramesh, who was denied the said correspondences by the government.

The central government had approached the high court saying that such disclosures would affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

Justice Anil Kumar, who demitted office on Wednesday, said in his order, 'The provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005, cannot be held to be superior to the provisions of the Constitution of India and it cannot be incorporated so as to negate the bar which flows under Article 74(2) of the Consitution of India.'

Justice Kumar also dismissed the RTI applicant C Ramesh's plea saying that he was not 'entitled' to the communications exchanged between the then president and the then prime minister over the Gujarat riots.

Ramesh's request for making public the communications under the RTI Act had been denied by the Central Public Information Officer and his appeal against the denial was also dismissed, subsequent to which he had moved the CIC.

Ramesh, in his application submitted for obtaining the information, had said, 'I personally feel that the contents of the letters, stated to have been sent by the former president of India to the then prime minister are of importance for foreclosure of truth to the public on the stand taken by the government during the Gujarat carnage. I am therefore interested to know the contents of the letters.'
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