New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) The Centre has challenged in the Delhi High Court a CIC order directing it to disclose the pre-trial advice given by the Army’s Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch in connection with a 2012 mutiny by 100-odd soldiers of Ladakh-based 226 Field Regiment against their superiors.
According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) plea, the incident had taken place on May 11-12, 2012 at Leh in Jammu and Kashmir after the soldiers heard a rumour that one of them had died after being badly beaten up by three officers for allegedly molesting an officer’s wife.
Around 100-odd soldiers allegedly ransacked the officers mess of their unit, injured several of their senior officers, misbehaved with their wives and had engaged in other incidents of unruly behaviour, said the plea, filed through advocates Rahul Sharma and C K Bhatt.
Gunner Bikramjit Singh, who was dismissed from service in 2015 after a Summary General Court Martial (SGCM) for his participation in the mutiny, had in December 2015 sought information regarding the advice given by JAG in the matter.
He is lodged in a central jail at Hoshiarpur serving a prison term of 10 years as punishment, as per the petition.
The Central Information Commission (CIC) had in January 2017 directed MoD to provide the information to the RTI applicant, Singh, and the order was challenged by the ministry in the high court in May 2018.
However, a single-judge bench of the high court had on the first date of hearing dismissed the ministry’s appeal, saying it was filed after considerable delay, according to the petition.
Subsequently, the MoD filed an appeal against the single judge decision which came up for hearing before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao on January 25.
The matter, however, was not taken up as one of the judges of the bench was not available and therefore, the petition was listed for hearing in April.
In its appeal, the ministry has contended that the single judge dismissed its plea merely on the ground of delay without giving it a chance to explain why the delay had occurred.
It has also argued that the CIC completely misinterpreted the Right to Information (RTI) law by directing the ministry to provide certified copies of the JAG’s pre-trial advice as the same was confidential and exempted from the purview of the Act.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.