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Delhi HC seeks reply from Centre, COAS over plea seeking de-classfying Sambha spy scandal documents

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(India) Apr 12 (ANI): The High Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre and the of Staff (COAS) over a petition seeking to de-classify all official documents relating to Samba scandal.

A single bench of the High Court headed by Justice issued notice to the (Centre) and the COAS while observing that the petition raises an important question as for what durations can document be kept classified since indefinite classification would be violative of freedom of speech, which includes Right to Information.

During the course of hearing, the for the petitioners advocate Pranav Sachdeva argued: "In all the major democracies around the world including United State of and several European countries, all the classified documents have a fixed duration of classification and are mandatorily required to be declassified after a passage of a specified time or a specified event."

The Central government's argued before the court that as per their manual, secrecy is the norm and disclosure is the exception.

Reacting over the government's statement, Justice Bakhru said that if this is the stand of the government, it should put this on an affidavit.

The court slated the matter for hearing on September 3.

The petition sought to de-classify all the official documents pertaining to 'Samba spy' scandal and put the same in public domain, as more than 40 years have elapsed, all court cases have ended and no claim of security can now be raised.

The petition was filed by Ashok Kumar Rana, and Ranbir Singh Rathaur, former Captains in the who were also arrested during the investigation period and spent many years in prison.

Petitioners further alleged that in the Samba case, the entire careers, dignity, and honour of various upright officers including the petitioners were unduly sacrificed for the selfish gains and motives of certain officers in the military establishment.

The petitioners have tried every legal recourse available to them in order to prove their innocence but to no avail as the entire basis and materials of the charges and subsequent court martial proceedings against them were never properly and fully disclosed either to the petitioners or to this court.

"The entire case history, starting from Court Martial proceedings and thereafter to this Court till the of India, gives a glimpse of the kind of camouflage that was intended to be created by the respondents herein to shroud the real occurrences which if revealed would have left the military establishment red-faced and indictable," the petition said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 12 2019. 22:26 IST