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Information about casualties of Chinese soldiers cannot be disclosed: CIC


NEW DELHI: The casualty figure of the Chinese soldiers in Galwan Valley clash two years back between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops and the Indian Army soldier cannot be disclosed, told 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 also sought information about the casualty figures suffered by the Indian soldiers in Galwan.

Galwan is 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 (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh.   

The applicant had also asked for information on the rehabilitation and ex-gratia paid to the families. In addition, the RTI applicant had sought to know from the army if Indian soldiers are missing in the Galwan river valley after the clash and its plans to rescue them.

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 the disclosure of 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 information on it was also denied.

The applicant Akhand argued before the CIC that the matter involves a larger public interest and that the information should be provided to him.

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 is sensitive in nature and 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," she said.

The Indian Army had lost 20 Indian Army soldiers in the Galwan clash and the Chinese had acknowledged the death of five soldiers during the clash.