Country’s transparency watchdog has asked the president’s secretariat to provide file notings of the Padma awards given in 2004, but without the names of the awardees.
Padma awards are national civilian awards given for distinguished service in various fields. The President is one of the authorities to approve the name of awardees.
In an order issued on September 11, disclosed on Wednesday, Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Wahajat Habibullah said as per a high court judgment, the president’s secretariat cannot refuse information under the privacy clause of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Applicant Subhash C. Aggarwal had sought copy of a letter former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam wrote to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, expressing displeasure over some persons listed for the prestigious awards. Kalam wanted to know the reason the people were chosen.
Aggarwal will now know the reasons, but not their names.
On another of Aggarwal’s pleas, the president’s secretariat asked to seek the opinion of Chief Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla before disclosing the letter written by his predecessor R. Gopalaswami to the President.
Gopalaswami had reportedly asked President Pratibha Patil not elevate Chawla as the poll panel chief because of his alleged partisan functioning. Aggrawal had sought a copy of Gopalaswami's letter.