“Can’t Give Information on Aid to Families of Dead Soldiers”: Indian Army on Galwan Clash

The Central Details Commission (CIC) stated on Friday, July 29, that the Indian Army is not permitted to disclose information regarding the rehabilitation and ex-gratia payment given to families of soldiers who died in the India-China Galwan Valley Clash in 2020.

Additionally, it steadfastly resisted providing information on the number of soldiers missing and the plans for their rescue, as well as the fatalities inflicted by Chinese forces and the deaths of Indian army members.

The army responded by stating that it was third party information and could not be released in response to applicant Akhand’s Right To Information (RTI) request, which asked for all of the aforementioned information.

The army is exempt from revealing information that is personal in nature and could negatively impact India’s sovereignty, security, and integrity, according to CIC, the highest appeal authority under the RTI Act.

Twenty members of the Indian army had been killed in the border dispute in Eastern Ladakh that erupted during the fighting in Galwan Valley on June 15, 2020.

The country’s casualties are anticipated to be far greater after an Australian newspaper revealed that a number of China’s soldiers perished while crossing the river in the dark. China had recognised the deaths of five of its soldiers.

‘Proper Reply Was Given’: RTI Body

However, Akhand’s attorney argued before the CIC that the information should be given to him because the situation is of greater public interest.

Information Commissioner Vanaja N Sarna answered, “It is noticed that a proper reply was given to the appellant whereby it was appropriately stated that as the information is connected to third parties, the information cannot be provided under section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.

Additionally, it was claimed that section 8(1)(a) of the RTI Act does not apply because the material is sensitive in nature. No relief may be provided because the Commission was unable to identify any errors in the response, she said.

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