The Central Information Commission on Friday directed the Home Ministry to disclose whether it had sought a report from Intelligence Bureau on the controversial art work of celebrated painter M F Hussain and the final decision taken by the Ministry over the intelligence reports.
Considering that reports from the intelligence agencies are exempted from disclosure under the Right to Information Act, Information Commissioner Sushma Singh asked the Ministry to at least inform whether it sought any report from it.
The Commission said though IB reports are exempted from disclosure, it cannot be said about the final action taken by the Home Ministry on the basis of those reports.
Home Ministry officials agreed before the Commission that IB was roped in the matter but did not specify in what manner. They told the Commission that they would check the records and tell to RTI applicant S C Agrawal through a formal reply only.
On the report of seeking views of Law Ministry on the issue, the officials told the Commission that no reference was ever made to the Ministry on Hussain's paintings.
The case relates to RTI application filed by Agrawal, who had sought to know from the Home Ministry a number of questions regarding the role of IB, reports, recommendations and other related issues regarding the controversial paintings of Hussain.
The Ministry rejected the application saying disclosure of information 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.
It also said the disclosure would affect communal harmony and peace.
The officials on Friday reiterated that giving details of intelligence reports on the issue could "further sharpen the communal divide in the country."