Adv. Aires Rodrigues has today filed an appeal against the reply received from the Goa Raj Bhavan Joint Secretary to Governor and Public Information Officer (PIO) Gaurish Shankhwalkar that the letters written by former Goa Governor Satya Pal Malik to Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister were not available.
Adv. Rodrigues has filed his appeal before the Secretary to the Governor Mr. Mir Vardhan who is the First Appellate Authority at the Raj Bhavan under the RTI Act.
Adv. Rodrigues in his appeal has submitted that while failing to furnish the information sought the PIO has high-handedly taken shelter under unacceptable reasons in rank contravention of the RTI Act.
Alleging that the PIO has denied information with erroneous, frivolous, unwarranted bald headed and malafide intentions while acting as a caged parrot of the powers to be, Adv Rodrigues has submitted that the action of the PIO to deny information was illegal, untenable and with suspect motives.
Pointing out that the information sought by him very much exists at the Goa Raj Bhavan, Adv, Rodrigues has in his appeal has further submitted that if the letters sought by him were infact searched for and could not be found the PIO was duty bound to seek the assistance of the author of those letters former Governor Satya Pal Malik.
Adv. Rodrigues in his appeal has also stated that the reply of the Raj Bhavan PIO implies that there was no correspondence whatsoever from Governor Malik to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister during his over nine month tenure in Goa which factually could not be true.
In his application under the Right to Information Act, Adv. Aires Rodrigues had sought from Raj Bhavan copies of all the official letters written by Governor Malik to PM and HM during his tenure from 3rd November 2019 to 18th August 2020.
The Public Information Officer at the Raj Bhavan has informed Adv. Rodrigues that the information sought by him was searched but is not available in the files and records of the Raj Bhavan.
The Raj Bhavan has further informed Adv. Rodrigues that there is a system of Governor directly writing to the higher authorities and that copies of such confidential and personal correspondence is not usually handed over to the Governor’s Secretariat.
In terms of the RTI Act, after the decision of the First Appellate Authority, a second appeal would lie before the State Information Commission and then the High Court.