The reports send by governors to the President are not exempt from disclosure under the Right to Information Act, the Central Information Commission has held, noting that disclosure should be decided on the basis of the content.
Hearing the plea of Mumbai-based RTI applicant Krishan Lal Mittal, who sought to know copies of about 915 reports submitted by Governors since 2009, the transparency panel said that disclosure of the reports should be made on a case-to-case basis.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan, responding to Mittal's query, has said these reports cannot be revealed as they are held in fiduciary capacity.
"It may not be correct to hold that reports sent by the Governors and Lt Governors are held in a fiduciary capacity and should therefore not be disclosed," chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra said.
Mishra said disclosure of Governor's reports should be decided on whether contents are covered by other exemption provisions of the RTI.
"It is certainly not right to deny such reports summarily by treating it as information held in fiduciary capacity," he said.
He, however, said since the reports sought by the applicant number over 900, their disclosure would "disproportionately divert" the resources of Rashtrapati Bhavan. Mittal was advised to be specific about the reports he was seeking.
Mittal has also sought disclosure of file notings on the pending mercy petitions with the President, a request which was rejected by the CIC.
Mishra said the notings are bound to contain references to the advice tendered by the minister concerned and such information is beyond the scope of any scrutiny by even a court of law as per Article 74 of the Constitution.