Priyanka Gandhi Shimla Cottage Case has High Court slam down contempt show cause notices on State Information Commissioners

Shimla: Testing the waters about Right to Information Act implementation jurisdiction, the Himachal Pradesh High Court today issued show cause notices to Bhim Sen, Chief Information Commissioner and KD Batish, State Information Commissioner explaining as to why contempt proceedings may not be initiated against both of them for deliberately disobeying the orders passed by this court on 7th July, whereby proceedings of state information commissioner had been stayed.

A division bench of the court consisting of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice PS Rana also stayed further proceedings in the case pending adjudication before The Information Commissioner in the matter pertaining to the information related to land purchased by Priyanka Gandhi Wadra for construction in Shimla.

Jurisdiction of RTI on trial
Jurisdiction of RTI on trial

The court further directed the chief information commission and the state information commissioner to remain present before the court on 11th September, the next date of hearing of the case.

Priyanka Gandhi has filed a contempt petition against the information commissioners for directing revenue officers to appear before the state information commission regarding the details of land purchased by her which is alleged to be in violation of the orders passed by the High Court.

In the contempt petition she has alleged that the information commissioners had violated the orders passed by the High Court willfully, whereby the execution and operation of order passed by State Information Commissioner was stayed.

It is alleged in the contempt that despite stay order passed by the High Court in the writ petition filed by the petitioner, the State Information commissioner has summoned the record from Deputy Commissioner Shimla, ADM   Shimla and Tehsildar Rural for 20th August.

The matter pertains to an appeal filed before the state information commission by RTI activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya about not disclosure of the land purchase deal by the district administration and the competent revenue authorities.

Priyanka Gandhi has appealed the commission order for disclosing the land deals under right to privacy and that the RTI activist being a resident of Noida, UP had not locus-standi in the matter.

Bhattacharya in a Facebook post referring to a Times of India article claims that the information being sought by him has already been released “by the ADM Simla to one Sh. Om Prakash of Sadhupul (Solan District). I have got the copies of that information. Then why the same ADM is trying to block the information of similar nature to me? IS SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG IN THE LAND PURCHASED IN 2013 BY PRIYANKA GANDHI ?

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As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

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