Thursday 30th Nov 2023
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High Court To Hear Appeal on Ministry of Defence's Refusal to Disclose Information on Indian Soldiers in Maldives

The High Court will hear an appeal from Dhiyares, the sister-newspaper of The Maldives Journal, regarding its denied request for information on the number of Indian military personnel stationed in the Maldives and the financial cost incurred by the State as a result of their presence. Dhiyares had submitted the request for information to the Ministry of Defence, which was denied. After appealing to the Information Commissioner's Office, the Information Commissioner at the time sided with the Ministry of Defence and ruled that the Ministry of Defence was under no obligation to disclose the requested information.
Dhiyares had then appealed the ICOM decision to the High Court.
The High Court has scheduled its first hearing of the matter on 3 March 2022 at 9:05a.m. Although the hearing had previously been scheduled on 9 February, that hearing had been cancelled on ICOM's request.
The High Court had first scheduled a hearing on 22 March 2021. The hearing had been cancelled without any explanation at the time, and re-scheduled for 31 March 2021 which had also been cancelled. The High Court had accepted the case from Dhiyares on 8 December 2020.
The High Court explained that the hearings had been cancelled because of the resignation of the Information Commissioner at the time and because the Information Commissioner's Office had no one in charge. The High Court said that the Information Commissioner's Office wished to continue with the case once a new Information Commissioner was appointed.
The Information Commissioner's Office had agreed with the Ministry of Defence's decision to not disclose the requested information to Dhiyares, and had also ruled that copies of the requested Dornier agreement also need not be disclosed.