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Delhi HC stays CIC's order asking CAG to give information about auditing of Department of Space

Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd (DEVAS), an Indian firm which works in the field of satellite communications, had entered into a Hybrid Satellite Digital Multimedia Broadcasting Service Agreement with a government agency.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:September 2, 2014, 9:51 PM IST
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Delhi HC stays CIC's order asking CAG to give information about auditing of Department of Space
Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd (DEVAS), an Indian firm which works in the field of satellite communications, had entered into a Hybrid Satellite Digital Multimedia Broadcasting Service Agreement with a government agency.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday stayed an order of the Central Information Commission order asking the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to give various information about its audit with respect to "Hybrid Satellite Digital Multimedia Broadcasting Service Agreement" with private firm DEVAS. Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd (DEVAS), an Indian firm which works in the field of satellite communications, had entered into a Hybrid Satellite Digital Multimedia Broadcasting Service Agreement with a government agency.

The apex transparency panel, on June 9, this year, ordered that information pertaining to the audit be provided under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. A bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru stayed the CIC's order and issued a notice to information-seeker Vinod Sunder, a company secretary working with DEVAS, on the plea of the CAG. The court has sought Sunder's response and posted the matter for hearing on January 19 next year. "Issue notice. Meanwhile, we stay the impugned order by CIC till next date of hearing," the court said. The audit body has said the CIC did not appreciate the fact that disclosure of the documents sought was exempted under section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act.

According to the CAG, Sunder had raised seven queries in relation to the CAG's report with respect to "Hybrid Satellite Digital Multimedia Broadcasting Service Agreement" with DEVAS by filing an RTI and sought documents issued by Department of Space to the CAG. Later, on November 9, 2012, Chief Public Information Officer of CAG forwarded the RTI Application to the Branch office of the Principal Director of Audit, Scientific Departments at Department of Space.

The First Appellate Authority, in its order on February 28, 2013, did not allow the plea of Sunder. Ultimately, Sunder approached the CIC which directed the CAG to disclose the sought documents without appreciating the fact that CAG being a constitutional body cannot disclose the said "confidential information to the public at large", the petition, filed by the accounting body through lawyer Gaurang Kanth, said.

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