The Prime Minister of India is on duty all the time, the PMO said, adding that no leave records of former prime ministers are available with it. The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said this when an RTI applicant sought a copy of leave rules and procedures for the prime minister of the country and the Cabinet Secretariat.
"The Prime Minister can be said to be on duty all the time," the Right to Information (RTI) response from the PMO said.
The applicant also wanted to know if former prime ministers Manmohan Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, HD Deve Gowda, IK Gujral, PV Narasimha Rao, Chandrashekhar, VP Singh and Rajiv Gandhi had availed any leave and were there any records.
"The information regarding leave record of previous prime ministers is not a part of records held by this office. However, it may be noted that no leave has been availed by present Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi since taking over the charge," the RTI response said.
A similar RTI application was also filed by the RTI applicant to other authorities like Cabinet Secretariat to ascertain if they have any information about leave of former prime ministers and rules regarding this for the Head of the government. But there was no response and the application was transferred to the home ministry which further sent it to the PMO which said it does not have any information about leave records of former prime ministers.
This comes after the recent news story about Ajay Kumar from Maharashtra, who filed an RTI request asking the Ministry of Home Affairs whether the government is equipped to deal with an alien invasion or a zombie attack. One of his many questions was if we could fight them off without the help of Will Smith.
According to The New Indian Express, the number of RTI applications to the PMO has increased 10-fold between 2006-2007 and 2014-2015, as revealed in the research by the NGO — Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI). During Narendra Modi's office, both the number and the rejection rate of RTIs has grown.
There have been submissions of 1,500 petitions a day for the last 20 months and a sum of 10 lakh petitions including RTI applications, grievances, complaints, from 1 June, 2014 to 31 January, 2016 to the PMO, reported the Times of India. Allegedly, the PMO receives many silly questions that ask the number of gas cylinders, the speed of the internet, lists of phone calls, the manufacturing company of the teleprompter, expenditure on spices and vegetables and such used by the Prime Minister. Some of these questions went on to create political controversies like that about the Prime Minister's mark sheet from the Delhi University.
With inputs from PTI