Photo: An extract from the reply of Ministry of Home Affairs, to an RTI petition by Rakesh Dubbdu seeking information about 28th Dec, All Party Meeting on Telangana
(An open letter to State Information Commissioner Vijaya Babu by RTI Activist Rakesh Dubbudu)
Dear Mr Vijaya Babu (Information Commissioner – AP Information Commission),
Hope everything is fine. My Name is ‘Rakesh Dubbudu’, the one who filed an application with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) seeking details of the 28th Dec 2012 all party meeting ostensibly organized by the Home Minister Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde.
I tuned into TV5 (a Telugu news channel) while I was changing channels and heard you speak. You were giving your ‘EXPERT OPINION’ and ‘UNDERSTANDING’ of the RTI act about the Ministry of Home Affairs saying they do not have any information with regards to the Dec 28th all party meeting on Telangana.
I was dumbfounded with your arguments/comments to say the least, so much so that I started wondering if I know the RTI act at all. You started by quoting Sec 8(1)(a) of the RTI act which states ‘Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen,— information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence’.
But I am sure the person who trained you on the RTI act must have explained that Sec 8 comes into picture only when the PIO refuses to part with the information requested. So how is that you linked Sec 8 to the present case when the PIO did not ever talk about refusal to part with the information? If the information was not available, why did MHA not use Sec 6(3) and transfer the application to a public authority that holds this information? Where is the question of Sec 8 here? And how is the all party meeting related to the sovereignty and integrity of India?
The second argument you made was even more interesting. You said since the discussions on the Telangana issue are underway; the information might not have been available/given. I read Sec 8 and Sec 9 of the RTI act some 50 times now. But I could not find anything that talks about ‘when discussions/process is underway’ etc etc. In which section of the RTI act did you find this gem of an argument? Are you reading the RTI act of a different country by any chance?
Photo: An excerpt from the application written by Vijaya Babu to Chief Minister, requesting the CM to consider him for the post of Information Commissioner, keeping his services to ‘Congress Party’ in view. RTI activists have now challenged the appointment of Vijaya Babu in court. They say Vijaya Babu’s appointment is a clear case of political appointment. (Click on above image to read Vijaya Babu’s original letter)
I did not know that you would try this hard to stand your word of serving the Congress party if you are selected as the Information Commissioner. I may not like it, but I appreciate your sincerity in sticking to your word so much so that you start making these silly arguments just to support the Congress and to support your personal opinion on Telangana.
I cannot help but come to the conclusion that time has come for you to learn the RTI act from scratch. We are ready to train you free of cost.