When in opposition BJP wanted 39 classified files on Netaji public, now Centre says no
NEW DELHI: The BJP-led government has refused to make
public nearly 39 classified files on the mysterious disappearance of Netaji
Subhas Chandra Bose and related matters, in sharp contrast to the demands of
disclosure raised by its senior leaders when in Opposition.
In January when the Lok Sabha election campaign was at
its peak, the then BJP president Rajnath Singh, during a visit to Cuttack - the
birthplace of Netaji - on the occasion of his 117th birth anniversary, had
demanded that the UPA government make public the records related to the freedom
fighter. Singh is now the Home Minister.
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in a recent RTI
reply accepted that there were 41 files related to Bose, of which two had been
declassified, but refused to disclose them taking a position similar to that of
the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government.
"Disclosure of documents contained in these files
would prejudicially affect relations with foreign countries. As such, these
files are exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1)(a) read with Section 8(2)
of the Right to Information Act," the PMO said in its reply to RTI
activist Subhash Agrawal.
Singh had claimed during the election campaign that
there was larger public interest in the disclosure of the documents, but the
PMO under Modi seems not to be in agreement as is evident from the reply which
considered the larger public interest disclosure clause - section 8(2) - of the
RTI Act but chose to withhold the documents.
The section 8(2) says, “Notwithstanding anything in
the Official Secrets Act, 1923 nor any of the exemptions permissible in
accordance with sub-section(1), a public authority may allow access to
information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the
“The entire country is impatient to know as to how
Netaji died and under what circumstances,” Singh had said, releasing a book on
the eve of Netaji's birth anniversary in Cuttack on January 22.
The PMO said in its reply, “Yes this office has some files
related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. A list of files
unclassified/classified/declassified with number and subject matter relating to
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is enclosed.”
The PMO gave a list of 41 files of which two related
to INA treasure and appointment of a inquiry commission to go into
circumstances of death have been declassified and sent to the National Archives