Saturday, January 21, 2012

MoD not for revealing Indian National Army history

MoD not for revealing Indian National Army history

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has challenged in the Delhi High Court an order of the Central Information Commission asking it to provide an RTI applicant the 60-year old manuscript of a book chronicling the history of 'Azad Hind Fauj' of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.

While the country will be celebrating the 114th birth anniversary of the leader on Sunday, the unpublished book commissioned by government six decades ago to chronicle the history of Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA) will remain under wraps till the matter is finally decided.

The case relates to an RTI application filed by activists Anuj Dhar and Chandrachur Ghose who had sought a copy of the manuscript of the book by P C Gupta, written 60 years ago, from the Defence Ministry.

The Ministry refused to provide the c opy saying it is "planning" to publish the manuscript submitted in 1950 and disclosure would hit the "economic interests" of the state.

Dhar and Ghose provided a written oath to the Central Information Commission that they would not extract any economic mileage out of the manuscript and it was only for research and personal reference.

Information Commissioner M L Sharma had ordered the disclosure of manuscript rejecting the argument put forth by the Defence Ministry. He said information sought by Ghose and Dhar is "disclosable (sic)" and the reasons provided by the ministry do not hold in the light of the oath by the duo.

But rather than providing the manuscript, the Ministry has challenged the decision in the Delhi High Court which has stayed the disclosure till final order.
"This instance is symptomatic of larger malaise. Our government wants to keep everything about Netaji secret for reasons known to them," Dhar said.

Meanwhile, Ghose, Dhar and other like-minded people have started a drive to get all records concerning Netaji de-classified. A pamphlet released by them links the matter to transparency and wants "complete disclosure of all information on Netaji" held by the government.

"It is unfathomable why the Ministry is so bent on hiding information that is not classified. Even the CIC did not find merit in their arguments," Ghose said.


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