Air Force Plea in High Court: PM’s Flights, Entourage Can’t Be Disclosed
Delhi: Earlier in July, the Central Information Commission (CIC) had asked for the details of the Prime Minister’s flights and security cover. The Indian Air Force has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court challenging the CIC direction of providing information regarding Special Flight Returns (SRF)-II, as this is related to the details of the PM’s security concerns.
The petition by the IAF has claimed that the “information so sought includes details related to the entire entourage, names of Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel accompanying the Prime Minister of India on foreign tours for his personal safety, and the same, if disclosed, can potentially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State.”
The petition has been filed through Central Government Senior Panel Counsel Rahul Sharma and advocate CK Bhatt, and it is an appeal against CIC’s July 8 direction to the Indian Air Force to provide certified copies of relevant Special Flight Returns-II to Lokesh K Batra, RTI applicant Commodore (retired).
Batra, in his work tenure, had sought certified copies of SRF-I and SRF-II related to each of the foreign visits of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and also Prime Minister Narendra Modi from April 2013 onwards.
IAF, in its petition, has also claimed that the CIC has “failed to appreciate and consider that the information sought by the respondent (Batra) from the petitioner (IAF) cannot be disclosed and the application of the respondent for seeking the same ought not to have been allowed as the information sought is extremely sensitive in nature…”