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Delhi HC stays CIC order to disclose PM's entourage details under RTI Act

ANI | Updated: Dec 11, 2020 12:34 IST

New Delhi [India], December 11 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed an order by the Central Information Commission (CIC) seeking the disclosure of security apparatus and the entourage of the Prime Minister of India under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
A bench of Justice Navin Chawla, while hearing a petition filed by the Indian Air Force, stayed the CIC order directing them to provide information regarding Special Flight Returns (SRF)-II and listed the matter for further hearing in April.
The bench also issued notice and asked respondent Commodore Lokesh Batra, who had sought the details via an RTI applicant, and also asked the petitioner IAF how disclosing the number of passengers would affect the security.

"What is the problem in giving the number of passengers? You may not give the names. But how does it affect the sovereignty of the country if the number is given," the bench asked.
The IAF had moved the Delhi High Court against the CIC order contending that the security apparatus and the entourage of the Prime Minister of India cannot be brought into the public domain for security reasons.
The plea sought to quash an order dated July 8, 2020, passed by CIC whereby it had directed the CPIO to provide details of relevant Special Flight Returns-ll to Commodore (retd) Lokesh K Batra within 15 days. The IAF said the CIC has failed to consider that the information sought by the RTI applicant can't be disclosed as it is extremely sensitive in nature.
"The SPG has strict protocols concerning the security of the Prime Minister and even the details regarding the name and number of SPG personnel engaged in the personal security of the Prime Minister of India are not brought into the public domain as unfortunately there have been assassinations of two previous Prime Ministers," the plea said.
It said the CIC has made a grave error in law as well as on facts as it ignored that the details of SPG have been explicitly exempted from the purview of the RTI Act. Hence, the impugned order is bad in law as well as on facts and deserves to be quashed, it added. (ANI)