Information about the travel of the Foreign Minister to UK
Back ground of the case
The appellant had sought detailed information about the trip of Union Foreign Minister Shri SM Krishna to UK like the purpose of the trip, expenses incurred during the trip and also about alleged over-stay to watch Wimbledon tennis-matches. The PIO provided certain information to the appellant and remaining information was refused claiming exemption under Section 8(1)(a) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence; of the RTI Act. The PIO contended that disclosing the discussions held by the Foreign Ministry with various signatories would impact India’s relation with the Foreign States. On appeal, the FAA held that the information sought by the appellant has already been provided to the appellant.
View of CIC
The Commission accepted the plea that the record of discussions of the Foreign Ministers with various people of different countries would cover a wide range of topics and all of these could not be disclosed since they would have an impact on India’s relations with various foreign states. After the discussions with the respondents, the Commission concluded that 03 pages of file notings (page nos. 01, 02 & 06) relating to the preparations for the trip and the press release which also mentions the purpose of the visit can be severed as per the provisions of Section 10 and provided to the appellant. The Commission observed that page six of the noting may be relevant since it mentions that the Foreign Minister’s visit for 02nd and 03rd July 2011 was private and payment for these days has been made by the Minister. The Commission also direced the Respondent to disclose the Program Schedule which was made before the visit which is titled “Suggested Tentative Program for the visit of Mr. S. M. Krishna Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs”. On the submission of the Respondent that the programme has the mobile numbers of certain people, the Commission directed that the mobile numbers may be blanked out when giving the information. It was also directed that any information in compliance with this order will be provided free of cost as per Section 7(6) of RTI Act.
Citation : Mr. Subhash Chandra Agrawal v. Ministry of External Affairs in decision No. CIC/SG/A/2011/002837/16639
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/6
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