Delhi HC stays CIC direction to IAF to provide information relating to PM’s entourage on foreign trips
Delhi HC stayed the operation of a CIC order directing the Indian Air Force to provide information regarding SRF-II, which contains details of the prime minister’s entourage on his foreign trips
The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed the operation of the order passed by Central Information Commission (CIC) directing the Indian Air Force to divulge information relating to PM Narendra Modi's entourage on foreign trips under the Right to Information Act (RTI).
The stay order was passed in a petition filed by the Indian Air Force (IAF) challenging the CIC direction, Live Law has reported.
A single bench of Justice Navin Chawla granted interim stay to the Indian Air Force on its petition against the CIC order dated July 8, 2020, directing the CPIO, Directorate of Personal Services, Air Headquarters, Indian Air Force, to provide details of the Prime Minister's Special Flight Returns-II to an RTI applicant Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd.).
Justice Chawla observed that under the provisions of the RTI Act, the CPIO could not provide details of anything more than the number of passengers accompanying the PM on the flight. However, this too was disputed by the CPIO.
The CPIO had submitted that Special Flight Returns-II relates to official records of functioning and working of the security apparatus of the Prime Minister of India which cannot be brought in public domain for safety and security reasons.
Commodore Batra (Retd.) pointed out that even though the order of CIC had directed the petitioner to provide the details within 4 days, it had been 4 months and no such details were provided. He pressed that he was not even informed until early September that the CPIO, IAF intended to challenge the CIC's order.
Commodore Batra (Retd.) submitted before the court that such information was traditionally disclosed and that not just officials but private persons could also be travelling with the Prime Minister, thereby implying that they would not all be exempted from disclosure under the RTI Act.
Published: 11 Dec 2020, 12:01 PM