Central Information Commission: Recently, CIC addressed a very interesting appeal in which the appellant had sought to know whether Taj Mahal at Agra is Taj Mahal or Tejo Mahalaya and complete details and information with supported evidences related to great monument as per ASI reports, its construction details, rooms, hidden rooms, closed rooms, if any. To this, CPIO had given specific replies for each query that no such record was available and giving details of the rooms would violate the security purposes and the same was upheld by FAA.
The Commissioner noted that the appellant’s expectations of research and investigation to answer his RTI application is way beyond what Act calls for and also said that the right time to file objections about Taj Mahal was before it was declared a protected monument terming the demand of applicant as unreasonable for bringing out hidden and closed rooms in the monument. It would be rewriting the history under an RTI application, Prof. Acharyulu observed.
The CIC considered that different cases are pending before the Supreme Court, Allahabad High Court and the Agra District Court, as also the book titled “Taj Mahal: The True Story” authored by Mr. P.N. Oak about which too the appellant sought information.
The Commission also took note of the fact that the information disclosed on the specified website shows that there were excavations in Uttar Pradesh but it was not specified where the excavations were made in UP. Hence, it directed the concerned public authority to inform the appellant whether any excavations were done in the protected site of Taj Mahal and if so, what was discovered and at the same time, it pointed out to the appellant very specifically that Commission cannot give directions to excavate or open the hidden or closed rooms in Taj Mahal.
Along with the directions, Prof. Acharyulu finally recommended that the Ministry of Culture should give its stand on the frequent claims based on historian Mr. Oak and Advocate Yogesh Saxena’s writings to put the controversy relating to Taj mahal at rest. [B K S R Ayyangar v. PIO, ASI, CIC/ALSOI/A/2017/303740, decided on 03.08.2017]