New Delhi. The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to stay the order of the Central Information Commission (CIC). Hockey India (Hockey India) was directed to disclose certain information, including the list of salaries of its members and employees, under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Justice Rekha Palli said Hockey India is a National Sports Federation (NFS) and a public authority. In such a situation, he cannot refuse to disclose such information. Even the salaries of judges are known to all.
“Prima facie I don’t think there is anything wrong with the CIC’s order. You (Hockey India) is a public authority, you cannot refuse to disclose the salary of employees, no matter how high or low. When our salaries are known to all, then what is the problem with the salaries of your employees being made public. You are a public authority getting a lot of help, benefits and money.
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The Central Government also supported the CIC’s order of December 13, 2021, saying that it is in line with the National Sports Code and the guidelines of the Centre. Senior advocates Sachin Dutta and Anil Soni, representing the Centre, submitted that the NSF is also required to hand over this information to the government and it is not in the category of confidential information which has been exempted under the RTI Act.
The counsel for the Center sought time to file an affidavit in this regard before the court. The court gave the Center five days to file an affidavit and listed the matter for further hearing on January 20. Hockey India has challenged the CIC’s December 13, 2021 order directing it to furnish complete list of its members with their designation and official address, names of their employees, details of their salary and gross income under RTI .
The petitioner claimed that the order of the CIC was passed completely illegal, arbitrary, unfair and in violation of the established principles of law. This is contrary to section eight (a) of the RTI Act which deals with exemption from disclosure of information. Advocate Sheel Trehan, appearing for Hockey India, submitted that the NSF is not shying away from giving information to the Centre, but disclosing these details to the Center and giving information to an RTI applicant is a very different matter.
The petition sought quashing of the CIC’s order and restraining the officers from complying with the order dated December 13, 2021 or taking action accordingly. Hockey India has been recognized as NFS by the Union Government, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.