The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notices to the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the central government on a petition seeking action against the council for its contradictory stands in the case of the morphed photo of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Najma Heptulla, the NDA's vice presidential candidate.
The court has directed the ICCR and the Centre to file their replies by 19 September, while hearing a PIL filed by the Council's employees association.
The petition accuses the ICCR of misleading the nation by its contradictory positions before the various investigating agencies in the photo morphing case.
In its reply to the IP Estate Police Station in October 2005, the council had stated, "The matter is pending with the Assurance Committee of the Parliament and with the CBI."
However, in its reply to the Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police in March 2006, the ICCR Programme Director stated, "The matter is under investigation within the department."
The controversial photograph, which dates back to 1958, shows Heptulla seated along with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. It appears with an introduction and shows a young Heptulla seated along with the Maulana. The caption says 'Najma Heptulla with Maulana Azad after her graduation'.
Official inquiries later revealed that Heptulla graduated in May 1958, whereas the Maulana passed away on 22 February, 1958.
The CBI has already completed its preliminary inquiry and is likely to register an FIR.
The petition has stated that the status of inquiry into the matter only became clear after a right to information application was filed before the CBI in May this year, almost a year after the court had asked the agency to investigate the matter expeditiously.
The ICCR employees association in its petition has also sought to know whether the council was an autonomous institution.