The Ministry of Home Affairs got an unusual RTI query regarding the term ‘Tukde Tukde gang’ on December 26, 2019. While the term has been used often by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in his speeches, the MHA's clarification on Monday that it had no information regarding the same, was jumped at by a certain section, which came to take it as a conclusive proof of some sort and celebrated it as though it was a victory hard-won. The query, doltish and misdirected as it is, was flawed at inception, and sits atop a heap of applications that can generally be classified as 'odd'.
While the RTI has proved an unrivalled tool to seek accountability from the government and has led to the uncovering of numerous scams, every now and then, it throws up a 'Tukde Tukde Gang'.
In the wake of the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, Joshy Kalluveettil- a resident of Thrissur filed a query demanding information about the documents furnished by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prove his citizenship. He contended that this information would be useful for other people in the scenario of having to establish their citizenship credentials. Kalluveettil is yet to receive a formal response.
It is a common phenomenon in India to refer to Mahatma Gandhi as the ‘father of the nation’. However, a specific RTI plea seeking clarification on a formal government order in this regard filed by Gaurav Agarwal received an astonishing answer. The Union Culture Ministry clarified that no such rule or ordinance had been enacted.
General Knowledge books often state that though cricket is the most followed sport, hockey is the national game of India. Aishwarya Parashar, a young girl decided to find out the truth for herself. An RTI reply furnished by the Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports stated that there was no official notification of the government proving the same.
Parashar has filed several other RTI applications as well which have led to startling conclusions. For instance, she asked whether there was any official government notification regarding the designation of Republic Day (January 26), Independence Day (August 15) and Gandhi Jayanti (October 2) as ‘national’ holidays. Though these days are deemed as holidays not just in the public but also the private sector, the response to the RTI query was in the negative.
In one of the weirdest queries, Ajay Kumar sought information from the MHA about the chances of survival if India was attacked by alien zombies and extra-dimensional creatures. On its part, the Ministry responded that a hypothetical question did not fall under the ambit of the RTI. But the then MoS Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju could not hesitate to take a dig at the query and stated that such RTIs were a waste of time.