The Central Information Commission has directed the Home Ministry to disclose action taken against the officials of intelligence agencies who had cleared the names of actor Saif Ali Khan (2010) and businessman Arun Firodia (2012) for Padma awards.
Acting on a plea of activist Subhash Agrawal who had alleged that due diligence was not taken while clearing their names for the coveted awards, CIC quoted previous order of the Commission which had said once awards have been finalised there is larger public interest in disclosing information about it. Agrawal had sought to know “complete information on action taken against the ones concerned in intelligence agencies for clearing names of Arun Firodia and Saif Ali Khan for Padma awards without proper investigation”.
He had also asked about steps taken to disclose names of members of the Awards Committee for Padma awards making specific recommendations. Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava also directed the Ministry to make public if PMO and some public authority concerned received objections against some of Padma awardees including also for year 2014 besides complete records and file notings on the action taken on it.
Bhargava further directed disclosure of names of those having made recommendations for Padma awards 2015 and if such information has been put on the website as assured by MHA in an earlier communication. “The Commission with regards to point nos. 21 and 22 of the RTI application observes that providing the name of persons making recommendations for Padma awards 2015 and also number of recommendations received from each State/ ministries would make the process transparent and will be in the interest of the public as people would become aware as to who is recommending whose name for the prestigious awards,” he said.