MEA asked to disclose info on Justice Bhandari's nomination to ICJ

MEA asked to disclose info on Justice Bhandari's nomination to ICJ

The Central Information Commission has directed the Ministry of External Affairs to disclose records related to nomination of Supreme Court judge Justice Dalveer Bhandari to International Court of Justice.

The Commission also directed the External Affairs Ministry to transfer some questions of the application filed by activist Subhash Agrawal to the Indian Chapter of Permanent Council of Arbitration with the instructions to provide information to the appellant.

Agrawal had sought to know from the Ministry if it sought approval of the Prime Minister to nominate one of its officials to the council which nominates candidate for ICJ and whether such an approval was given.

The External Affairs Ministry had refused to disclose the information saying it attracts exemption clauses of the RTI which allow withholding the information related to strategic interests of the country besides it would also affect canvassing for the Indian candidate.

"After a long discussion, the Commission is not able to see any evidence for the reservations expressed by the PIO in revealing the information. No cogent arguments have been advanced for justifying the denial of information," Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said.

On the rest of questions related to nomination of Justice Bhandari to ICJ, MEA said it did not have related information. The CIC directed the MEA to transfer the application to the council before July 5 and directed the Council to provide information on these points.

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