Who is ‘Eeshwar’ in whose name top constitutional functionaries and legislators take oath of office? This RTI query stumped the Law Ministry, which said there is no constitutional provision defining the term.
RTI-applicant Shradhanand Yogacharya also raised another query, seeking to know the meaning of “Satyameva Jayate”, the motto inscribed at the base of the national emblem.
The application, which was addressed to President’s Secretariat, was transferred to Home Ministry which forwarded it to the Law Ministry.
Failing to get any satisfactory response, Shradhanand took the matter to the Central Information Commission where, during the hearing held through video conferencing, a Law Ministry official told him that they can only provide information which is part of the records.
Central Public Information Officer S K Chitkara also tried to convince the applicant that “Satyamev Jayate” was not part of any Constitutional provision and terms like “truth”, “religion”, “caste” were not defined in any part of the Constitution hence no information could be provided.
He asked the applicant to understand the expressions in the context of circumstances or based on judicial explanations available in various judgements or law books.
Chitkara told Shradhanand that meaning of words like Eeshwar, Satya, Jati, Nyay and Dharma are supposed to be explained by teachers and Acharyas but cannot be asked under the RTI Act where the term “information” is clearly defined under the law.
Intrigued by the debate between the applicant and the CPIO, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu also chipped in and asked the applicant “Can you define Eeshwar and Truth?” to which he had no answer.