The decision of the Prime Minister’s Office not to divulge the correspondence between the then President K.R. Narayanan and the Atal Behari Vajpayee government during the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 has resulted in the biggest test of the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A full bench of the Central Information Commission, comprising all five Commissioners, is to take up a citizen’s petition demanding that the correspondence be made public under RTI.
Twice the Manmohan Singh government has rejected pleas of the Nanavati Commission for copies of the correspondence to be made available to it. The Centre has said the correspondence was “highly confidential” and “sensitive” and refused to divulge the corespondence citing immunity under the Official Secrets Act. Narayanan, in his final interview, said he had said all he had to say on the subject.
Questions: Should the content of the letters be revealed? Or should they remain suppressed? Will revealing the contents under RTI help our democracy combat similar issues better or will they end up vitiating the atmosphere once again? If the correspondence shows the Narendra Modi government in poor light, why is the Congress-led UPA being so cagey? Will suppressing the letters deny justice to the victims of Gujarat?