Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday stayed until further orders a Central Information Commission (CIC) order directing the Indian Air Force to divulge under the Right to Information Act (RTI) information relating to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's entourage on foreign trips.

Earlier this week, the IAF approached the High Court against the order passed by the CIC, citing a potential threat to the sovereignty and integrity of India,

Justice Navin Chawla said the information sought by the RTI applicant with regard to details of the ministry or department officials who accompanied the PM on a trip cannot be disclosed, but there was no harm in providing details of the number of passengers on flights.

Justice Chawla after hearing the IAF counsel Rahul Sharma issued notice to Batra and asked him to file a reply within four weeks. “There shall be a stay on the impugned order till further orders,” said the court.

The petition had sought licensed copies of SRF-I and SRF-II with regard to every overseas go to of former PM Manmohan Singh as additionally Prime Minister Narendera Modi from April 2013 onwards.

According to Livelaw report, the single judge bench granted interim stay to the Indian Air Force on its petition against an order dated July 8, 2020, directing the CPIO, Directorate of Personal Services, Air Headquarters, Indian Air Force, to provide details of the Prime Minister's Special Flight Returns-II to an RTI applicant Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd.).

The court, however, said no harm can be caused to the security of the state if only the number of passengers was provided as certain private individuals, like journalists, would have also accompanied the PM.

It made it clear that information regarding names or designation of ministry or security officials on the flight cannot be provided.

It also said that CIC had left it to IAF to decide what information from SRF-II can be provided.

The matter would be heard next in April 2021.

(With inputs from agencies)