Can’t Disclose Inf On IOA: JK Govt

Can’t Disclose Inf On IOA: JK Govt

29 July 2012
Greater Kashmir
Umer Maqbool

Srinagar: While Centre has revealed the whereabouts of Instrument of Accession (IOA), Jammu and Kashmir Government has surprisingly refused to disclose the information on the subject saying, its disclosure would impinge upon the security, sovereignty and integrity of the country. In an application filed by Irfan Hafiz Lone, vice-president of Baramulla Bar Association under Right to Information Act- 2009, seeking information about IOA, Jammu and Kashmir Government has rejected the application by taking “refuge” under section 8 of RTI Act. Surprisingly, the Government of India in response to the RTI application filed by the same applicant has disclosed that IOA is lying with National Archives of India (NAI). “The application is rejected under section 8 of RTI Act which provides: Information , disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state or lead to incitement of an offence (cannot be disclose),” Muhammad Shad Saleem, Public Information Officer, General Administration Department, (GAD) has stated. The State Government’s response says that the applicant can file appeal before the First Appellate Authority (FAA), G S Chib, Special Secretary, GAD. Pertinently, under section 16 of JK RTI Act, an applicant is empowered to file first appeal before FAA, if he-she was not satisfied with the answer of PIO. As already reported by this newspaper, National Archives of India has claimed that the IOA is in possession. According to the information revealed by GOI, the document was transferred to NAI by Ministry of Home Affairs in 2010. “Signatures of Maharaja Hari Singh, and Lord Mountbatten are seen on the document,” the reply states.