New Delhi: The Delhi
High Court Wednesday set aside the Central Information Commission
(CIC) order allowing disclosure of the correspondence between then
president K.R. Narayanan and prime minister A.B. Vajpayee on the
Gujarat riots of 2002.
Justice Anil Kumar allowed the central government's plea filed
against the CIC order of Aug 8, 2006.
The CIC had asked the
government to disclose all the letters sent by Narayanan to
Vajpayee from Feb 28, 2002, to March 15, 2002, relating to the
Gujarat riots. The release of letters was sought by C. Ramesh
through the Right to Information act.
"The order of the CIC dated Aug 8, 2006, is liable to be set aside
and the CIC cannot direct the petitioner (government) to produce
the correspondence between the president and the prime minister,"
said the judge.
"Respondent No.2 (C. Ramesh) is not entitled for the
correspondence sought by him, which was exchanged between the
president and the prime minister relating to the Gujarat riots,"
ruled Justice Kumar, who retires Wednesday.
The government, quoting Articles 74 and 78 of the constitution,
submitted that any advice tendered by the union council of
ministers or correspondence exchanged between the president and
the prime minister enjoyed immunity from public scrutiny.
The government said the correspondence between the president and
the prime minister were "classified" and "privileged" documents
under Article 74 and hence the provisions of the RTI could not
overide the same.
"By virtue of Article 361 of the constitution, the deliberations
between the prime minister and the president enjoy complete
immunity as the documents are 'classified documents' and thus
enjoy immunity from disclosure not because of their contents but
because of the class to which they belong, and therefore the
disclosure of the same is protected in public interest," the
It complained that the CIC erroneously applied the provisions of
Section 6 of the RTI Act in seeking the classified documents from
The government had sought the quashing of the impugned judgment of
the CIC on the ground that the disclosure of the information
Ramesh sought "relates to Gujarat riots and any disclosure of the
same would prejudicially affect the national security, sovereignty
and integrity of India".