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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

HC summons ex-info panel official Gandhi

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 09, 2013
First Published: 00:43 IST(9/1/2013) | Last Updated: 00:45 IST(9/1/2013)

Former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi is due to appear before the Delhi high court on Thursday after the court's veiled threat of a contempt of court notice to him, in connection with a stay order earlier sought by a CIC official.

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The CIC official had sought the stay order on an enquiry initiated by Gandhi against him.

A few weeks before his retirement from the Central Information Commission (CIC), Gandhi had decided to look into a matter when he noticed some discrepancy while hearing an appeal. The public information officer (PIO) concerned, a law secretary at the CIC, approached the High Court, which gave an ex-parte stay on Gandhi's investigation.

In his counter affidavit, Gandhi had raised a few points of law. It included, among other issues, whether or not reasons should be given for interim orders and was it necessary to grant ex-parte stay? 

“After such ex-parte stays, the proceedings languish in the High Court and as a result, even the proceedings at the CIC come to a standstill for long periods of time. This goes against the entire purpose of the RTI Act, where information is required to be provided within 30 days," Gandhi said.

Meanwhile, Gandhi retired last July after his term ended at the CIC. During the hearing on November 1, 2012, the petitioner offered to withdraw the petition as his purpose of stopping the enquiry against him had been achieved. Gandhi's lawyer Colin Gonsalvis opposed the withdrawal on the ground that it was akin to misusing the legal process. 

On November 1, Justice Rajiv Shakdher had observed that prima facie certain sections in Gandhi's affidavit were “tantamount to a contempt of court. I am refraining myself from issuing a notice of contempt of court to Gandhi at this stage.”

The court then asked Gonsalvis to address the issue on January 10 and also directed Gandhi to appear in person.


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