The Indian Army cannot reveal information regarding rehabilitation and ex-gratia payment provided to families of deceased soldiers in the India-China Galwan Valley Clash in 2020, the Central Information Commission (CIC) said on Friday, 29 July.
It also refused to divulge details about casualties suffered by Chinese forces, deaths of Indian army personnel and the number of soldiers missing and the plans to rescue them.
In response to a Right To Information (RTI) plea by applicant Akhand, which sought to know all of the above, the army, said it was third party information which cannot be shared.
CIC, the highest appellate body under the RTI Act, argued under relevant sections of the act that the army was exempt from disclosing information which is personal in nature and could adversely affect the sovereignty, security and integrity of India.
The Eastern Ladakh border row that escalated after the Galwan Valley clashes in on 15 June 2020 had killed twenty Indian army personnel.
Although China had acknowledged the death of five of its soldiers, the country's losses are projected to be much higher after an Australian newspaper reported that a number of its soldiers drowned while crossing the river in darkness.
'Proper Reply Was Given': RTI Body
However, Akhand's representative argued before the CIC that the matter involves larger public interest and the information should be provided to him.
“It is noted that a proper reply was given to the appellant whereby it was rightly stated that since the information is related to third parties, the information cannot be provided under section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act,” Information Commissioner Vanaja N Sarna responded.
“It was also stated that the information being sensitive in nature cannot be provided under section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act. The Commission is unable to find any flaw in the reply, hence, no relief can be given,” she said.
(With inputs from PTI.)