Were Indian National Army (INA) soldiers who sided with revolutionary leader Subhas Chandra Bose freedom fighters or army deserters? The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered the home ministry to answer this question.
The case came up for hearing before information commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu as Right to Information applicant Prodyot Kumar Mitra could not get details on the status of INA soldiers who had marched with Bose.
His application filed on August 26, 2014 was first transferred to CPIO, ministry of defence which was further transferred to department of ex-serviceman welfare and finally to ministry of home affairs.
Four months after Mitra filed the application, National Archives offered inspection of records and asked him to cull out desired information and documents.
Acharyulu noted that the home ministry was right in transferring the RTI application to the National Archives as far as records are concerned.
"But, the MHA should have taken responsibility to answer the question regarding revoking the social stigma attached to INA veterans, clarifying the doubt why should not be considered as freedom fighters and whether MHA was ready to provide same benefits such as pension to the members of INA," the information commissioner pointed out.
He was of the opinion that the MHA is under an obligation to explain the logic or reason in neglecting the members of INA led by Netaji and rejecting them the status of freedom fighters.
"The commission directs the office of MHA to provide answers to the above questions and inform the appellant about the policy, the decision and action on the RTI application filed by this appellant within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order," he ordered.