NEW DELHI: Why shouldn't Arvind Kejriwal be declared a public authority as he is an MLA, the Central Information Commission has asked the Delhi Chief Minister in a case seeking to know how he was allowed to change his address during 2014 assembly poll nominations.
Neeraj Saxena had filed an RTI with the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi asking why Kejriwal submitted Form 8A (ID-467402) dated November 17, 2014 for transposing his name at 514 VBP House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi only to withdraw it and file another Form 8A (ID467401) dated January 8, 2015 to change the address to BK Dutt Colony, New Delhi stating that he is residing at this address for (five) months.
He also sought to know why a prosecution was not initiated by the CEO against Kejriwal.
The election office submitted that Saxena has already taken up the matter before CIC which had ruled that sufficient information had been provided to him and also the matter was raised before the Delhi High Court which rejected his petition.
"The PIO claimed he has cancelled the Form 8A ID-467402, as per the request of Mr Kejriwal. The PIO stated that he cannot furnish the certified copy of the said Form-8A because it was not received from the headquarters. The appellant is insisting on penalty proceedings against the PIO," Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu noted.
He said some of the questions by the RTI applicant as to why Form-8A was withdrawn by Kejriwal and the change of residences are totally in the individual capacity as Kejriwal, who at that time was a voter, later became a legislator, then leader of AAP legislature party and finally the Chief Minister of GNCTD.
"It will be appropriate to consult the third party Arvind Kejriwal to respond because the appellant is making a serious allegations and vociferously challenging the validity of claim of residential addresses of Kejriwal," he noted.
Acharyulu said Saxena reiterated his allegation that Kejriwal was resident of Ghaziabad and he makes a claim that he is resident of Delhi and hence it cannot be considered as a trivial representation.
"He also made an allegation that Kejriwal was allowed to withdraw the Form 8A requesting the transposition of his name within Delhi AC-40 itself. Though the PIO claimed that there are no mala fides on the part of Mr Kejriwal in withdrawing the Form 8A, the Commission feels that the PIO cannot talk about the mala fides or otherwise of a legislator," he said.
He directed Kejriwal to respond to the RTI application seeking to know as to "why he as an MLA shall not be considered as 'public authority' and AAP Legislature Party cannot be considered as 'public authority'" in the light of June, 3, 2013 decision of the Commission declaring six national parties as public authorities.
"The PIO/Election Officer cannot refuse to provide copies of several Forms 8A and withdrawal form and related documents as there was nothing personal about Kejriwal. They are also not exempted by any other provision of RTI Act. Hence the PIO/Election officer is directed to coordinate (with its office)...and provide all relevant papers available with them including withdrawal related documents," Acharyulu said.