Himachal high court judge recuses himself from Priyanka Gandhi land caseindia Updated: May 13, 2017 09:29 IST
One of the respondents, Debashish Bhattacharya, had moved an application seeking details in the case relating to Priyanka’s land purchase at Chharabra.(Livemint file photo)
Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan has recused himself from the hearing of the matter regarding divulging details of Priyanka Gandhi land deal under Right to Information (RTI) Act.
On Thursday, when the matter was taken up for hearing, an order read, “Subject to the approval of Acting Chief Justice, list before another bench.” Now, the matter will be listed before another bench.
One of the respondents, Debashish Bhattacharya, had moved an application seeking details in the case relating to Priyanka’s land purchase at Chharabra from the Shimla deputy commissioner office, which rejected his plea. Following this, Bhattacharya appealed to the state information commission.
Earlier, on July 7 last year, the Himachal Pradesh high court had stayed the information commission’s order to divulge the information regarding the land. Since the commission carried on with the proceeding other than divulging information, Priyanka had moved a contempt petition and on August 7, the court issued contempt notices to the then chief information commissioner Bhim Sen and information commissioner KD Batish. Both of them had to tender an unconditional apology before the court.
In its order on June 29 (stayed by the high court later), a division bench of Sen and Batish summoned the Shimla deputy commissioner (DC) and the additional magistrate. Countering the security grounds cited by the DC, Batish argued, “Even top political figures like the Prime Minister and former prime ministers with SPG (Special Protection Group) protection provide information about their immovable and the movable assets in their election affidavits.”
Bhattacharya later wrote a letter to the high court citing the alleged conflict of interest for the presiding judge. He said the judge’s wife had contested municipal polls on Congress ticket in 2012. Bhattacharya demanded to transfer the case from here to New Delhi.
Bhattacharya also said when chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s case was enlisted before former chief justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur, he recused himself from the hearing saying that he knows Virbhadra Singh.