New Delhi, Jan 11 : The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Defence Ministry to consider revealing details of court martial proceedings against an army officer, and observed that defence court of inquiry could not be construed as a private activity.
In a recent order, the Commission has turned down the Defence Ministry's plea to seek exemption from revealing to Lt Col Harish Gulati information about inquiry proceedings initiated against him on the grounds that divulging such details would serve no public interest.
"It is clear that the applicant is seeking information concerning a disciplinary case against him and as such it is not information about some other person so as to attract exemption clauses under RTI Act. The details sought are about a court of inquiry, which is public and not a private activity," Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said.
In his Right to Information plea, Gulati had said that despite the court martial proceedings declaring him not guilty, his service was still under a threat.
Claiming that he was not provided a hearing and witnesses were threatened during the inquiry proceedings, Gulati said he needed the information to establish that there were no grounds to further proceed against him.
The Defence Ministry, however, took a plea that judgement of the court martial proceedings against Gulati was perverse and the case was still under process.
Exclusion was also sought on the grounds that information sought by Gulati was held by it in a fiduciary capacity.
The Ministry has been directed to re-examine the matter afresh and take a decision on providing the details to Gulati within 15 days.