The High Court on Thursday ruled that the Information Commissioner should revisit the decision allowing the government to withhold the number of Indian troops in the Maldives.

The court ruled that the commissioner’s decision must reasonably demonstrate that disclosing the information poses a threat to national security. According to the judgment, the commissioner did not adequately explain why the number could not be disclosed.

The judgment, while acknowledging that the commissioner’s decision was made in accordance with a confidential agreement, went on to outline that the commissioner had not clearly indicated whether such an agreement existed or if its terms had been established. The judgment affirmed that the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF)’s input alone was not sufficient.

The three-judge panel was thus unanimous on the point that the decision by the Information Commissioner’s Office not to disclose the number of Indian troops was not in accordance with proper procedure.

Judge Hussain Shahid presided over the three-judge panel, which also included Judges Hassan Shafiu and Huzaifa Mohamed.

The state had argued that disclosing the number of Indian troops would endanger national security and affect bilateral relations.