‘No’ to RTI plea for copy of warrant of appointment of Haryana Governor

It’s communication between two constitutional functionaries in a fiduciary relationship, says President’s secretariat

The President’s secretariat has refused to give copy of order of appointment of Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya under the Right To Information Act, 2005, on the pretext that the warrant of appointment is a communication between two constitutional functionaries (President and Governor) in a fiduciary relationship.

Hemant Kumar, an advocate at the Punjab and Haryana High Court had through the RTI, sought the copy as issued by the President under his hand and seal under Article 155. Mr. Dattatreya had been the Governor of Himachal Pradesh since September 11, 2019. He took oath as the 18th Governor of Haryana on July 15.

In reply to the RTI application, the President’s secretariat on July 23, said: “The Warrant of Appointment of the Governor is a communication between two constitutional functionaries in a fiduciary relationship. Hence a copy of the same can’t be provided in terms of Section 8(1)(e)of the RTI Act, 2005.”

The reply said a press communiqué issued in this regard is in the public domain on the website of The President of India.

Mr. Kumar, who has filed the appeal against the reply to the appellate authority of the secretariat, pointed out that before the person is administered the oath of office, the Chief Secretary reads out the order warrant, which means he has access to the document. “So how the copy of the same can be denied to a citizen of India?

“Also, the press communiqué as issued on July 6 mentions that Mr. Dattatraya, Governor of Himachal Pradesh, is transferred and appointed as Governor of Haryana. But there was no mention of the term ‘transferred’ in the order of appointment as read by Vijai Vardhan, Chief Secretary of Haryana, on July 15, before the oath was administered by the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. In the wake of this inconsistency, I am seeking official copy of order warrant of appointment.”

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