The Planning Commission is about to face a Public Interest Litigation for getting the map of India wrong – the cover of the 10th five-year plan shows Pakistan occupied Kashmir as part of Pakistan. When 60-year old Ashok Mehta, a retired bureaucrat, bought a copy of the 10th five-year plan published by the Planning Commission, he was shocked by the errors. On the cover of all three volumes of the plan, he discovered to his horror that the Line of Control had been drawn as the International Border and the portion of Laddakh known as Aksai Chin was shown to be Chinese territory. Mehta then wrote to the Planning Commission in April but got no response. Finally, left with no option, he and his legal team filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court. Mehta said the error was a disgrace to the memory of the soldiers who died in four wars. Punishable offence The Surveyor General is responsible for keeping copies of the official map of India and anyone attempting any deviation can be legally hauled up. Under the Criminal Law Amendments Act of 1961, “Whoever publishes a map of India, which is not in conformity with the maps of India as published by the Survey of India, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or a fine, or both.” Copies of the five-year plans are in fact shipped to all diplomatic missions abroad, apart from being used by various departments. But lawyers of the Planning Commission maintain that corrections have been carried out in the latest maps.
22nd July 2003