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  1. #1

    Default Make Chinese aggression report public: CIC

    As reported by special correspondent at on January, 31 2009
    NEW DELHI, Jan 30 – Forty-seven years after the Chinese aggression, the reasons for India’s defeat may finally become public, with the Chief Information Commissioner, Wajahat Habibullah asking the Ministry of Defence why the Henderson Brooks report could not be made public. Addressing a ‘meet the press programme’ organised by Press Association, a body of Accredited Correspondents of Government of India, the CIC said that in response to a Right To Information application filed by Kuldip Nayar, he has written to the Defence Ministry to explain on what grounds information on this could be withheld.

    The CIC wondered why the Indo-China conflict has been kept a top secret even after 40 years of the Chinese aggression of 1962. What calamity would take place, if this information is released, asked Habibullah.

    Columnist and writer Kuldip Nayar is trying to bring out the information, he added.

    On October 20, 1962, China’s People’s Liberation Army invaded India with overwhelming force on two separate flanks - in the west in Ladakh, and in the east across the McMahon Line in the then North-East Frontier Agency.

    An Anglo-Indian general called Henderson Brooks was requested to go through the official records and prepare a report on the war. Sometime in 1963, the General presented his study to Nehru and a couple of his ministers. The report was immediately classified as ‘Top Secret’.

    The report continues to remain classified so even till today. Forty years later, nobody has still seen the report. That is, except for one person: a British foreign correspondent named Neville Maxwell.

    The CIC further held the government responsible for not bringing enough awareness about the RTI Act. The Government has not done much to create awareness about the Act, he commented.
    Source : The Assam Tribune Online

  2. #2

    Default Re: Make Chinese aggression report public: CIC

    As reported by Iftikhar Gilani of on January 31, 2009

    India might reveal its 1962 war history
    By Iftikhar Gilani

    NEW DELHI: India may make its war history public soon. Indian Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Wajahat Habibullah on Friday disclosed that he was hearing an appeal filed by noted journalist Kuldeep Nayyar to make the Henderson Brooks Report of 1962 India-China war public.

    Habibullah, who enjoys enormous powers under the revolutionary Right to Information Act (RTI), has asked the Defence Ministry to submit the war report to the information commission to let it decide whether it could be made public. Habibullah told reporters that people in Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) needed to enjoy the same liberties available to the rest of Indian. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) led by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has to its credit piloting two revolutionary laws the RTI and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) during its five-year tenure. But unlike the NREGS, the CIC believes the government was making no efforts to publicize the RTI Act. The CIC admitted that in the countryside or even the educated class in big cities was not aware about their rights under the RTI.
    Source : Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan

  3. #3

    Default Re: Make Chinese aggression report public: CIC

    In a recent order CIC hs denied the disclosure of the "Henderson-Brooks Report" on the 1962 war with China.

    But the whole matter has a strange story attached to it - something that appellants and complainants face everyday with the CIC:

    Name of Applicant: Mr. Kuldip Nayar, Journalist and Ex MP
    Date of RTI Application: 7-12-2005
    PIO's reply date: 7-2-2006
    Complaint to CIC Date: 18-2-2006 (Not Registered in CIC)
    First Reminder to CIC: 14-8-2007 (CIC WH makes noting to treat it as a complaint)
    No Action taken by Registry
    Second reminder to CIC: 15-10-2007 (Jt. Registrar notes "urgently")
    Third reminder to CIC: 15-2-2008 (No reply from CIC)
    Fourth reminder to CIC: 4-4-2008 (addressed personally to CIC WH)
    Interim order: 6-11-2008
    Second hearing: 22-1-2009
    Final hearing/Inspection of report: 7-3-2009

    CIC has denied disclosure:

    We have examined the report specifically in terms of its bearing on present national security. There is no doubt that the issue of the India-China Border particularly along the North East parts of India is still a live issue with ongoing negotiations between the two countries on this matter. The disclosure of information of which the Henderson Brooks report carries considerable detail on what precipitated the war of 1962 between India and China will seriously compromise both security and the relationship between India & China, thus having a bearing both on internal and external security. We have examined the report from the point of view of severability u/s 10(1). For reasons that we consider unwise to discuss in this Decision Notice, this Division Bench agrees that no part of the report might at this stage be disclosed.

    CIC had also asked the Registrar on the "internal failures" in the Commission because of which the Complaint was not registered and even the CIC WH's note was ignored and not acted upon.

    Even till 19.03 2009 (the date of issue of the order/decision) the Registrar had not made and submitted the report.

    CIC has given him another 7 days to submit the report.

    This just shows, that leave alone appellants/complainants like the General Public, the staff of the CIC does not even care about what their own boss says !

    It will be worth watching what "view he takes as the CIC"

    (Please refer to:

    Twitter: @cjkarira

  4. #4

    Default Re: Make Chinese aggression report public: CIC

    As reported by on 21 March 2009:
    Henderson-Brooks report on Indo-China war still classified: CIC

    Henderson-Brooks report on Indo-China war still classified: CIC

    New Delhi, March 21: The Henderson-Brooks report, an analysis of the 1962 Indo-China war, will remain confidential as the CIC has ruled against its disclosure under the RTI Act "at this stage".

    A bench of Central Information Commission comprising Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah and Information Commissioner M L Sharma said in its order -- "this division bench agrees that no part of report might at this stage be disclosed."

    Former Rajya Sabha MP Kuldip Nayar had sought the report, which was submitted three decades ago to the government, from the Defence Ministry under the RTI Act but was refused saying that the report was classified and contained information which was sensitive.

    The CIC examined the report "specifically in terms of its bearing of present national security."

    "There is no doubt that the issue of India-China Border particularly along the North-East parts of India is still a live issue with the ongoing negotiations between the two countries on this matter," the CIC observed.

    The Commission found that the report, which carried "considerable" detail of what precipitated the war between India and China, will seriously compromise both security and relationship between the two countries.

    Twitter: @cjkarira

  5. #5

    Default Re: Make Chinese aggression report public: CIC

    As reported in on 24 March 2009:
    The Hindu News Update Service

    CIC official registers former MP's complaint after two years

    New Delhi (PTI): In a blatant disregard to their chief's order, officials of the Central Information Commission did not register the complaint of a Rajya Sabha MP even after repeated instructions from Wajahat Habibullah himself.

    Terming the non-registration of the complaint as "internal failure", Chief Information Commissioner Habibullah has ordered the Registrar of the commission to complete the pending enquiry on the matter by March 31 and file a report before him.

    "...the report expected from Registrar on the internal failure in processing Kuldip Nayar's complaint in the Commission has not thus far been submitted. He will now ensure its submission within seven working days of the date of issue of the Decision Notice," Mr. Habibullah said in his order.

    Former Rajya Sabha member Kuldip Nayar, in December 2005, had demanded Henderson Brooks report, an analysis of the 1962 Indo-China war, from the Ministry of Defence. After two months, Mr. Nayar was informed that document is confidential and could not be provided to him under the RTI Act.

    Mr. Nayar moved a complaint before CIC on February 18, 2006 with the prayer that "the matter might be sensitive at a particular time ... but not after 44 years." But the officials did not register it.

    Twitter: @cjkarira

  6. #6

    Default Denying us the right to know

    Editorial at on 31 March 2009

    How far we remain from the mindset of a culture where the people’s right to know what was done in their name is taken as basic, has just come from the Central Information Commission.

    This is the ultimate appellate authority for enforcing the national Right to Information (RTI) Act. And it has, the other day, upheld the right of the government and the army to suppress the facts about the 1962 war with China.

    After that disaster, Prime Minister Nehru promised an inquiry “to find out what mistakes were committed and who were responsible”. The Henderson-Brooks probe, as it was known after its chairman, a serving lieutenant general, gave its report in months. The government declined to publish it and so has each government since then; a query on the subject is tabled in Parliament almost each year, to be met with a firm refusal on the grounds of ‘public interest’. This latest appeal to the CIC (on an RTI request made as far back as 2005) would, if successful, jeopardise both national security and the 25-year-old talks with China on border demarcation, the defence ministry told the CIC. In its order, the latter agreed, “for reasons that we consider unwise to discuss…”

    Recall, too, that the official reports on the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan were similarly frozen from publication; what is known of the official facts has come out thanks to private initiative, which is strictly illegal, given the way the law on these matters is framed.

    Contrast this with some other cultures. In 2008, Britain’s equivalent of the CIC directed publication of the minutes of Cabinet meetings in 2003 which discussed the legality of the war in Iraq. Israel has fully published the entire probe report into its war with the Arabs in 1973 and its invasion of Lebanon in 2006; it didn’t matter that the latter inquiry censured the then prime minister (who also obeyed a summons to testify). And there’s the noting from the US Supreme Court in the Vietnam war disclosure (the Pentagon Papers) case: “The guarding of military and diplomatic secrets at the expense of informed representative government provides no real security for our Republic”. And this while the war was still on. Where are we, on these standards? The CIC has done us a valuable service, by demonstrating that only an alert citizenry that is prepared to enforce its right to be informed can have this very basic level of democracy.


  7. #7

    Default Open secret?

    As reported by A. G. Noorani at in its April 11-24 issue

    The CIC’s reasons for refusing to make public the Henderson Brooks report on the 1962 India-China conflict can have far-reaching implications.

    THE Central Information Commission (CIC), headed by Wajahat Habibullah and comprising on the Bench, M.L. Sharma, has rendered a grave disservice to the nation by ruling that the report of Lieutenant General Henderson Brooks and Brigadier P.S. Bhagat on our military debacle in the India-China war of 1962 cannot be disclosed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005. The reasons are not only wrong palpably, but are far-reaching in their implications. They ignore hallowe d precedent as the book under review shows.

    The report cannot compromise either India’s security or its ties with China for the simple reason, as this writer disclosed earlier, that Neville Maxwell has a copy of the report. His book India’s China War, published in 1970, is based on it (vide the writer’s article “Looking Back”, Frontline, April 10, 1992).

    Maxwell has since gone a step further. He has openly avowed possession of a copy of the report in an article in the Economic & Political Weekly (April 14, 2001) entitled “Henderson Brooks Report: An Introduction”. He revealed that the report “is long [its main section, excluding recommendations and many annexures, covers nearly 200 foolscap pages]”. He avers that “the report includes no surprises and its publication would be of little significance”. The officially published brief summary was “largely misleading”.

    Is the Indian citizen to be denied access to it nearly half a century later? Especially since the entire exercise was undertaken to assuage an anguished people. In form, it was an “internal review” instituted by the Army chief, General J.N. Chaudhari. But it was in pursuance of Jawaharlal Nehru’s assurance to the Rajya Sabha on November 29, 1962: “I hope there will be an inquiry so as to find out what mistakes or errors were committed and who were responsible for them.”

    Accordingly, Defence Minister Y.B. Chavan announced the institution of the inquiry on April 1, 1963. He gave a garbled summary to the Lok Sabha on September 2, 1963. He claimed it was “the type of inquiry” that was promised but pleaded that “the public interest” would be harmed by disclosure. The Defence Ministry’s claims that “reports of internal review are not even submitted to government” is puerile. The government has a right to ask for it, and in this case it was submitted to the Army chief on May 12, 1963 who forwarded it to the Defence Minister with his comments on July 2.

    The Ministry falsely asserts that “disclosure of the Army’s operational strategy” in 1962 has a direct bearing on the demarcation of the Line of Actual Control. The Chinese and the world know of the strategy and troop deployment. The demarcation has gone nowhere. China wants a political accord. Disclosures of 1962 have no bearing on the LAC’s alignment. Every one knows that Dhola Post and a few other places were north of, and beyond, the McMahon Line. Nehru admitted as much on September 12, 1959. “In some parts” the McMahon Line “was varied by us”.
    The CIC misdirected itself by holding that this is “a live issue”, hence, no disclosure. It implies that disclosure will only follow an accord on the boundary question. This defeats the object of the inquiry and also the whole purpose of the RTI.

    It is relevant to read the transcript of the testimony recorded at the hearings conducted jointly by the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committees into the dismissal of General Douglas MacArthur (The New York Times, May 4-June 8, 1952). Although the proceedings were in camera, a censored report of the entire evidence was made available that very day.

    Apart from the General himself, the others who gave evidence were the Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Defence Secretary General George Marshall, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Omar Bradley. The inquiry was not limited to the actual dismissal. It covered a very wide range of issues and comprised a thorough discussion of the rival concepts of strategy and tactics and the differing opinions on American military strength.

    “We are stripping the nation’s security framework to the bare skeleton,” Chairman Richard B. Russel remarked. He was not wrong.

    Americanreporters were chagrined to find the TASS correspondent regularly coming to buy the transcript for a few cents. (The full text was published in The New York Times). And all this while the Korean war was on. It ended two years later.

    Dardanelles Commission

    A special commission was set by an Act of the British Parliament to enquire into the Dardanelles campaign. Eminent admirals, generals and a judge were its members. The terms of reference were “for the purpose of inquiring into the origin, inception and conduct of operations or war in the Dardanelles and Gallipoli, including the supply of drafts, reinforcements, ammunition and equipment to the troops and fleet, the provision for the sick and wounded, and the responsibility of those departments of the government whose duty it has been to minister to the wants of the forces employed in that theatre of war”.

    On July 18, 1916, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith announced in the House of Commons, at the end of a two-day debate, that he would set up a Royal Commission “to inquire into the Dardanelles operations”. Its report was debated in the House of Commons on March 20, 1917, while the First World War was on. It ended in 1918.

    This book could not have made a more timely appearance. It is due to be published on April 25. Judges of the Supreme Court will profit much by it if the case goes to the court in appeal, as one hopes it will. Prof. Robin Prior has consulted the archives to provide a full account that demolishes many myths. The campaign in the Gallipoli peninsula, across the Dardanelles, in 1915-16 attempted to shorten the war by eliminating Ottoman Turkey, then Germany’s unwise ally, creating an alliance in the Balkans, and securing a sea route to Czarist Russia through the Dardanelles. Had it succeeded, the Ottoman and Czarist regimes might have survived.
    It ended in disaster, at a loss of 390,000 lives. It was the brainchild of Winston Churchill, head of the Admiralty. His career suffered a setback when he was removed from office.

    As Secretary of War, Horatio Kitchener was privy to it. The Cabinet was busy with plans to divide the Ottoman Empire and ignored the campaign. As in Arunachal Pradesh in 1962, the Ministers failed in “the higher direction of the war” (page 70) – a phrase also used in the Henderson Brooks Report.

    Students of history will welcome this definitive work. The politics of war are exposed thoroughly. The vain effort to achieve a cheap victory holds lessons for all. One hopes the author will follow up this work with a full-length study of the Dardanelles Commission.

    By the way, did the CIC know that Israel set up two commissions of inquiry into military campaigns. One was headed by the president of the Supreme Court, Shimon Agranat, on the Yom Kippur War of 1974. The other, headed by a retired Judge, Eliyahu Winograd, submitted a 629-page report on the campaign against Lebanon in 2006. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had to testify before it. Even Margaret Thatcher set up the Franks Inquiry into the Falklands war.

    In 2009, our CIC bars disclosure of a report of 1963 on a military debacle of 1962. Are we such a substandard democracy?

    Source: Open secret?

  8. #8

    Default Two war reports, two rulings: CIC seeks clear declassification policy

    As reported by Himanshi Dhawan of TNN in on 02 May 2009:
    Two war reports, two rulings: CIC seeks clear declassification policy - India - The Times of India

    Two war reports, two rulings: CIC seeks clear declassification policy

    NEW DELHI: In a space of four weeks, the Central Information Commission has given what appear to be contradictory rulings related to matters of
    national security.

    While the information watchdog has allowed disclosure of details related to the 1971 Indo-Pak war spy case, the same commission chose to withhold the Henderson-Brooks report on the 1962 Sino-India war. The ambiguity over which information should be made public is compounded because of a lack of declassification policy in the country.

    "There should be a clear declassification policy. It is a logical consequence of the Right to Information Act to have a disclosure policy and a right to privacy policy,'' Wajahat Habibullah, chief information commissioner said.

    Denying that the two orders were opposed to each other, Habibullah said that in the Henderson-Brooks report, there was a lot of material on the Line of Control (LoC) which was a "live issue''. "The Henderson-Brooks report deals with issues related to the Line of Control that are still under negotiation. It was felt that it would be detrimental to national interest to be make such information public,'' he said.

    He added that the allegations of an alleged CIA agent in the Indira Gandhi Cabinet was an issue that did not affect present circumstances.

    The chief information commissioner was of the opinion that clear laws on right to privacy and declassification would facilitate dispensation of the RTI Act. "Giving information is the rule and not giving it is an exception. A clear policy on declassification, like the one in the United States, would make our work much easier,'' Habibullah said.

    The US and United Kingdom have a disclosure policy under their respective Freedom of Information Act. In the US, documents are automatically declassified after a period of 25 years unless exempted under section 3.3 (B) of the executive order 12958.

    Activists have long argued that information related to public events — of national and international importance — must be made public.

    Twitter: @cjkarira

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