Justice Vibhu Bakhru sent the matter back to the Central Information Commission (CIC) to consider afresh the rival contentions and pass an appropriate order.
The court set aside the transparency panel's October 28, 2016 decision, saying the CIC was required to examine whether the information sought was exempted under the Right to Information Act, which it appeared not to have done.
The court also disagreed with the Centre's argument that disclosing information on who all were being protected, would endanger the lives of the protectees.
"How does it endanger someone's life by saying who is protected or how much it has cost," it asked.
The CIC in its order had said that the information sought cannot be provided as the same has not been given even to Parliament.
Under the RTI Act, any information which cannot be provided to Parliament cannot be disclosed under the transparency law, it had said.
Disagreeing with the CIC stand, the court said in the instant matter, it was nobody's case that Parliament had sought such information or that it cannot be provided to Parliament.
After sending the matter back to CIC, the court disposed of the plea moved by RTI applicant Deepak Juneja, through advocate Ayush Arora, challenging the CIC decision.
Juneja, according to his plea, had first sought the information on July 5, 2014 which was denied by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Thereafter, his appeals to the First Appellate Authority and later the CIC also were not successful.
Subsequently, he moved the high court against the CIC order of October last year.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)