The Himachal Pradesh high court on Friday discharged state chief information commissioner Bhim sen and information commissioner KD Batish after they rendered unconditional apology in Priyanka Gandhi land deal case.
One of the respondents, Debashish Bhattacharya filed an application on which the court gave Priyanka Gandhi three weeks to file a reply.
Gandhi’s counsel advocate Abhinav Sood said reply would be filed on the application moved by one of the respondents. The matter is listed for January 7. Chief information commissioner Bhim sen and information commissioner KD Batish appeared personally in the court
Earlier in October, the high court had ordered the Bhim Sen and KD Batish to seek an unconditional apology for disobeying its orders in the Priyanka Gandhi land deal case. The commissioners withdrew an earlier affidavit in which, sources said, they had said they were sorry “if the court deemed them guilty”.
The Himachal high court had served a notice on the two officers in August asking them to explain why contempt proceedings shouldn’t be initiated as they had ‘deliberately disobeyed’ the court’s order. Even after the stay on the proceedings of the case, the Information Commission had pulled up district administration officers and asked them to explain the delay in producing information before the court ordered the restraint.
It had also been submitted earlier that Bhim Sen and Batish were fully aware of the stay order but still choose to proceed further. The State Commission order of July 23 which said the stay order would be taken into consideration on the next date of hearing. The bench took serious objection to these facts following which Bhim Sen and Batish withdrew their earlier affidavit.
November 19, 2014: RTI activist moves state information commission, files second appeal
June 29, 2015: State information commission directs DC Shimla to divulge information about land deal
July 6: Priyanka Gandhi moves high court against the order
July 7: High court stays info panel order
July 23: State information commission issues notice to DC, ADM and SDM for the earlier delay
August 3: Priyanka files application in HC to stay commission notices to Shimla DC and others
August 4: Priyanka files contempt petition
August 7: Show-cause notice to both information commissioners
Oct 9: Court directs both information commissioners to file fresh affidavit of apology