New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to stay the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) asking Hockey India to disclose certain information, including the list of its members and salaries of employees, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. was instructed.
Hockey India on Wednesday approached the Delhi High Court seeking quashing of the CIC’s order and restraining the officials from proceeding or taking action as per the order dated December 13, 2021.
Justice Rekha Palli said Hockey India is a National Sports Federation (NFS) and a public authority. In such a situation, he cannot refuse to disclose such information. Even the salaries of judges are known to all.
“Prima facie I don’t think there is anything wrong with the CIC’s order. You (Hockey India) are a public authority, you cannot refuse to disclose the salary of employees, no matter how high or low. When our salaries are known to all, then what is the problem with the salaries of your employees being made public. You are a public authority getting a lot of help, benefits and money.
The Central Government also supported the CIC’s order of December 13, 2021, saying that it is in line with the National Sports Code and the guidelines of the Centre.
Senior advocates Sachin Dutta and Anil Soni, representing the Centre, submitted that the NSF is also required to hand over this information to the government and it is not in the category of confidential information which has been exempted under the RTI Act.
The counsel for the Center sought time to file an affidavit in this regard before the court.
The court gave the Center five days to file an affidavit and listed the matter for further hearing on January 20.
Hockey India has challenged the CIC’s December 13, 2021 order directing it to furnish complete list of its members with their designation and official address, names of their employees, details of their salary and gross income under RTI .
The commission had also asked Hockey India to give details of the monthly rent paid at each of its addresses.
The petitioner claimed that the order of the CIC was passed completely illegal, arbitrary, unfair and in violation of the established principles of law. This is contrary to Section 8(1) of the RTI Act which deals with exemption from disclosure of information.
Advocate Sheel Trehan, appearing for Hockey India, submitted that the NSF is not shying away from giving information to the Centre, but disclosing these details to the Center and giving information to an RTI applicant is a very different matter.
According to news agency PTI, he said that if the sports body complies with the order of the CIC, then the petition will become infructuous and if it does not comply with it within the time limit, then its officials will be fined along with disciplinary action.
The petition states that the order of the CIC was received by the petitioner on December 29, 2021 and he was directed to furnish the information within 15 days, which expires on January 14, and thereafter within 7 days of compliance report. Was asked to enter.
The petition sought quashing of the CIC’s order and restraining the officers from complying with the order dated December 13, 2021 or taking action accordingly.
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Hockey India’s petition and RTI applicant Subhash Chandra Agarwal, represented by advocate R. Arunadhari Iyer strongly protested that as per the National Sports Code, it was already required by each National Sports Federation (NSF) to disclose this information to the Centre.
The court had on January 12 said that it is necessary to know the stand of the Center in view of the request made by the RTI applicant and allowed the petitioner to make the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs a party to the petition.
The court had asked Central Government Standing Counsel Anil Soni to get directions in the matter.
The petition sought quashing of the CIC’s order and restraining the officers from proceeding or taking action as per the order dated December 13, 2021.
Hockey India has been recognized as National Sports Federation (NFS) by the Union Government, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
(with input from news agency language)
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