MHA refusal to info on Afzal plea

New Delhi: The Home Ministry has refused to disclose information related to processing of clemency plea of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru citing impact on national security and exemption given to cabinet documents under the Right to Information Act.

While withholding information, Home Ministry has cited section 8(1)(a),(g) and (i) of the RTI Act which exempts disclosure of three categories of information.

Section 8(1)(a) exempts 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.

Section 8(1)(g) allows exemption of information which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes.

The last section 8(1)(i) is related to exemption given to cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers.

The Central Information Commission, however, had allowed the disclosure of file notings related to action taken on mercy pleas filed by prisoners sentenced to death as the matter related to life and liberty of these people.

The Home Ministry had earlier provided details of file notings on various mercy pleas filed with the President. Activist Subhash Agrawal, who filed the application, said he was surprised with "the sudden change of attitude" of the Ministry in citing these exemption clauses while denying the information in "select cases".