The CIC has allowed partial disclosure of correspondence and notings of files pertaining to the recall of Harish K Dogra, erstwhile High Commissioner of India to New Zealand. Information Commissioner O P Kejariwal, after going through the relevant files, said some of the documents can be disclosed whereas the documents which have been received in confidence from the foreign Government are protected from disclosure under Section 8(1)(f) of the RTI Act.
Appellant S K Sahijpal made an application to the Ministry of External Affairs for disclosure of copies of the correspondence and notings related to Dogra's recall. The MEA refused to provide the information, taking recourse to Section 8(1)(a) and (f) of the RTI Act saying that such information is protected from disclosure as it may affect the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the country and relations with foreign states, and that the information has been received in confidence from a foreign government.
On appeal against the denial of information, the CIC directed the MEA to show to it the concerned documents and explain how the case is covered under the two Sections. After perusal of files, the CIC decided some of the documents may be disclosed while others are protected and cannot be disclosed. The Commission has observed that since the disclosure pertains only to Dogra, the documents cannot be disclosed to his advocate Sahijpal.