The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed an order by the Central Information Commission asking the Ministry of External Affairs to allow an RTI activist “to inspect all the relevant records to locate all information sought by him regarding the joint statement issued by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Gilani at Sharm-el-Sheikh in Egypt last year”.
Justice S. Muralidhar stayed the order on an appeal filed by the Union Government against the CIC order.
The activist, S.C. Agrawal, had last year filed an application before the Chief Information Officers at the Prime Minister's Office and at the Ministry seeking copy of the joint declaration, names of the officials who had drafted it and permission to see the file notings on its drafting.
Mr. Agrawal had moved the CIC when the CPIO at the Ministry did not respond to his pleas.
When inquired by the CIC, the Ministry submitted before it that it (Ministry) had provided to the applicant a copy of the joint statement. As regards the two other pleas of Mr. Agrawal, the Ministry had informed the CIC that it did not have any records on them. However, when the matter was re-examined, the First Appellate Authority provided some information regarding drafting of the statement.
Opposing the CIC order, Additional Solicitor-General A.S. Chandhiok argued before the High Court that matters which go to the Cabinet are exempted from being revealed to public.