Disclose documents related to 1991 BoP crisis: CIC to Cab Sec

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New Delhi, Apr 15: The Central Information Commission has directed the Cabinet Secretariat to disclose all documents related to the balance of payment crisis faced by the country in 1991 which led to selling of treasury gold by the then government.

An RTI application filed by Delhi-based Avinash Celestine had sought to know from the Cabinet Secretariat the details of all the documents related to the problem, which is said to have triggered demand for economic reforms in the country.

Celestine had tried to get copies of the Cabinepapers, and documents based on which the then Council of Ministers took decisions to ward off the looming economic crisis by selling gold from exchequer.

The Cabinet Secretariat had declined to make public the records, saying these documents did not originate in their office before transferring the application to the Department of Economic Affairs.

The Department of Economic Affairs said they could only locate the file related to selling of gold by the then Government.

Not getting satisfactory reply, Celestine appealed before the Central Information Commission with the plea that information should be provided to him.

During the hearing before Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra, the officials of Cabinet Secretariat pleaded that Cabinet papers and the related documents did not originate in their office.

"Under the provisions of the transaction of business rules, such documents originated in the ministries and departments of the Government ministries/departments of the government," the officials said.

They also said that such records are held by them in their capacity as the Secretariat to the Cabinet.

The Chief Information Commissioner said a citizen like Celestine "cannot be made to run here and there" for getting the information while it is clear that papers are in the possession of the Cabinet Secretariat.

"We direct the CPIO of the Cabinet Secretariat to disclose the desired information to the appellant," Mishra said.

PTI

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