'Can’t disclose Chinese casualties in 2020 Galwan clash': CIC to RTI applicant
The Army refused to disclose the information as it was third-party information and it cannot be shared under Section 8(1) (j) of the Act.
Published: 30th July 2022 02:24 AM | Last Updated: 30th July 2022 08:12 AM | A+A A-
NEW DELHI: The casualty figure of the Chinese soldiers in Galwan Valley clash two years back between Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops and the Indian Army can’t be disclosed, held the Central Information Commission (CIC).
In its recent order, the CIC declined to allow a plea seeking to know “the casualties to the Chinese forces, if any, by brave soldiers of the country” inflicted during the clashes between two forces on June 15, 2020.
The CIC is the highest appellate body under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The RTI filed by applicant Akhand had sought information about the casualty suffered by Indian soldiers in Galwan, one of the multiple standoff points where the Chinese moved in their forces after a clash between the troops of both sides on May 5, 2020. The area is near the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh.
The applicant also sought to know from the Army if Indian soldiers are missing in Galwan.
The Army refused to disclose the information as it was third-party information and it cannot be shared under Section 8(1) (j) of the Act, which exempts from disclosure information which is personal in nature.
The Army also cited Section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act, which exempts from the disclosure of information which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign state or lead to incitement of an offence.
The applicant argued before the CIC that the matter involves a larger public interest.
Information Commissioner Vanaja N Sarna said, “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.”
“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,” Sarna said.
The eastern Ladakh border row escalated after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15, 2020.
Twenty Indian Army personnel laid down their lives in the clashes that marked the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in decades.
China had acknowledged the death of five soldiers during the clash.
The Chinese losses were pegged to be much higher with a number of soldiers drowning while crossing the river in the darkness, according to an investigative Australian newspaper report in February this year.
(With PTI Inputs)