Against an order of the CIC (Central Information Commission), said to be affecting the sovereignty and integrity of India, inasmuch as it directs the Indian Air Force (IAF) to disclose details of the Prime Minister’s entourage under the RTI Act (Right to Information Act, 2005), a writ petition is been filed in the Delhi High Court.
CPIO, Directorate of Personal Services, Air Headquarters Indian Air Force file a writ petition against the order directing the CPIO to provide details of relevant Special Flight Returns-II to an RTI applicant (Respondent), within 15 days to Commodore Lokesh K. Batra (Retd),dated 8th July 2020.
“The information so sought includes details related to the entire entourage, names of Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel accompanying the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on foreign tours for his personal safety, and the same, if disclosed, can potentially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State,” the Petitioner submitted.
The information sought by the Respondent is extremely sensitive and is exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1)(a), 8(1)(e) & 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act.
The petitioner said,“ The Central information Commission made grave error in Law as well as on facts as it ignored that the details of the SPG is explicitly exempted from the purview of the Right to Information Act, 2005 by the virtue of section 24(1) read with the Schedule II of the Right to Information Act, 2005,”
Such disclosure may lead to identification of a) the source of information, or b) assistance given, in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes, which are exempt from disclosure under Section 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act, it was further pointed out.
CIC Order states;
“In view of the foregoing, Commission directs the CPIO to provide the certified copies of available and relevant SFR II as sought in the RTI Application after severing the name & other relevant identifying particulars of the security/SPG personnel figuring therein. The severance of record is to be followed in consonance to the provisions of Section 10 of the RTI Act. The said information shall be provided free of cost to the Appellant within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order and a compliance report to this effect be duly sent to the commission by the CPIO. The appeal is disposed of accordingly.”
The petition is filed through Advocate Rahul Sharma.