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Delhi HC seeks Centre’s reply on RTI for info on Indian land acquired by China

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre in response to a plea by former Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy seeking information about the extent of Sovereign Land of the Republic of India acquired by the People’s Republic of China across the mutually agreed-upon Line of Actual Control in 1996, along with a map.

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Swamy, who has sought the information under the Right to Information Act, 2005, is seeking expeditious disposal of his second appeal before the Central Information Commission (CIC), and a directive to the respondent authorities to provide an effective response to his application filed on November 10, 2022.

In his RTI application, Swamy has sought information on the extent of India’s sovereign land ceded to China since 2014.

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Swamy alleges that his RTI application was repeatedly transferred between various departments, even after the statutory timelines outlined in the RTI Act had expired.

His first appeal in January faced similar issues, being transferred between departments without resolution.

In March, he filed a second appeal but it, too, met with a similar fate. Swamy contends that the delay in addressing his appeal is hindering access to crucial information concerning the sovereignty and integrity of the nation.

The plea states that the CIC is obligated, under various High Court rulings, to dispose all second appeals under the RTI Act within 45 days.

Justice Subramonium Prasad, who has listed the matter for hearing on January 8, 2024, directed the Centre to respond to the plea through Ministries of Home Affairs, Defence, and External Affairs, the Central Public Information Officer, and the First Appellate Officer.

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