New Delhi: The President’s Secretariat has refused to disclose the communication President Pranab Mukherjee had with Narendra Modi when he was called to form the government after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The President’s Secretariat’s refusal to part with the information was based on the ground that it is a fiduciary communication.

Accepting the contention of the President’s Secretariat, the Central Information Commission dismissed the plea of Jaipur-based Parkash Shukla, who had claimed that there was no provision in the Constitution for staking claim to form a government. He wanted to know under which provisions Mukherjee had invited Modi to form the government.

Shukla said through the disclosure of the letter from Modi and file noting, he will be able to know what claim had been produced by the BJP leader to form the government. The President’s Secretariat, respondent in the matter, said it was beyong the scope of the Public Information Officer to interpret the provisions and Article of the Constitution under which Modi was invited to form the government.

The Secretariat cited section 8(1)(c) that exempts information which would cause breach of Parliamentary privileges and 8(1)(e) which exempts fiduciary information from the purview of the RTI Act, to withhold the information.

It also produced a past decision of the Commission which had said that communication from the leader of a political party to the President is covered under the ambit of fiduciary information and cannot be disclosed unless there is a larger public interest.

Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur said the decision of then CIC Wajahat Habibullah will apply in this case and the information seeking disclosure of letter of claim from Modi to the President to form government can be withheld.

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