NEW DELHI—The Amit Shah-led union home ministry has refused to provide any details, without giving any specific legal reason, about the trustees of the independent trust set up to oversee the construction of the Lord Ram temple in Ayodhya in response to a Right to Information (RTI) application.
“In this regard, it is informed that information(s) sought by you are falls under the section 8 of RTI Act 2005. Hence, information could not provided (sic.),” reads a single page reply given by Central Public Information Officer and Deputy Secretary V.S. Rana of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to Ghaziabad resident and RTI activist Sushil Raghav.
Several clauses in section 8 of the RTI act detail the various legally acceptable exemptions from the obligation to provide information, but the home ministry’s reply quotes none of them.
In his application, Raghav sought information about six specific aspects of the trustees and the trust appointed by the Narendra Modi government in compliance with the Supreme Court’s judgment. These included the full list of their names, their locus standi for having been selected as trustees, copies of details of criminal cases registered as FIRs against them, copy of constitution of the trust, details about its funds and aims and objectives.
Apart from these six questions, there is one more query in the Ghaziabad resident’s RTI application which stands out among them all and makes this whole exercise so peculiar.
Raghav asked what action was taken in response to his request, sent months before he filed the RTI application in June, to be appointed to the trust set up for the construction of a ram temple in Ayodhya. He wanted the information along with the ‘daily progress report’ prepared within the home ministry on his request.
In his request—which Raghav sent to the home ministry in early February and shared with HuffPost India recently—he claimed to be “hailing from dynasty of Lord Shri Ram or Ramlalla...