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Delhi HC asks Hockey India to disclose employee salaries in sealed cover

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New Delhi | January 20, 2022 9:20:26 PM IST
The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked Hockey India to place before it details of members and employee salaries in a sealed cover.

The single-judge bench of Justice V Kameswar Rao clarified that furnishing of information shall not discharge the petitioner of its obligation to comply with the order of the Central Information Commission.

The Court has listed the matter for further hearing on April 8.

Last week, the Delhi HC refused to grant any interim relief to Hockey India against Central Information Commission (CIC) order dated December 13, 2021, relating to disclosing certain information.

The Court was hearing Hockey India petition against the Central Information Commission (CIC) order dated December 13, 2021, directing the Public Information Officers of the petitioner to disclose certain information, allegedly including a list of its members and employee salaries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The Court refused to give any interim relief to Hockey India after the submission made by the Centre that information directed by the Central Information Commission (CIC) under order dated December 13, 2021, is in consonance with the national sports code issued by the Union of India.

Hockey India, which was represented by advocate Shyel Trehan, in its petition had stated that CIC suffers from complete non-application of mind, in as much as the same is wholly arbitrary, contrary to statute, and contrary to the law laid down by this Court and its own judgments.

The plea stated that Subhash Aggarwal, an RTI Activist through RTI application, had sought information relating to Hockey India with regard to salary and addresses of employees of the Petitioner (Hockey India), monthly rent paid by the Petitioner India for its premises taken on lease, signatories of bank accounts of the Petitioner, a record pertaining to fund-transfer by the Petitioner to bank-accounts in foreign countries and information on record pertaining to cash withdrawals made by the Petitioner.

The plea further stated that there is no discernible public interest that could override the exemptions of the information as sought. It is also pertinent to mention herein that the annual accounts of the Petitioner are already published on its website and the Petitioner is duly audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. The overall accounts of the Petitioner including the heads of expenditure, income, cash flow are all part of the Petitioner's accounts which are already available to the public on the website of Hockey India at www.hockeyindia.org and may be available to RTI Activist.

The information that is subject to disclosure under the RTI Act has already been disclosed by the CPIO of the Respondent. There is no overriding public interest, which warrants the disclosure of information, which is otherwise exempt from disclosure under the R TI Act under Sections 8( 1 )(d), 8( 1 )(e), and 8( 1 )(j) of the R TI Act, stated plea.

The RTI Activist, respondent in the matter has failed to make out a case as to how the disclosure of the information sought would serve any benefit to the public interest or make an assessment with regard to an overriding public interest justifying such disclosure.

The CIC makes no finding in relation to the objections raised by the Petitioner. In absence of considering the objections raised by the Petitioner either orally or in its reply, it is submitted that the hearing was an empty formality and principles of natural justice were not complied with, the plea read. (ANI)

 
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