Priyanka Gandhi RTI case: CIC told to appear in court on Oct 9

  • Saurabh Chauhan, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Sep 13, 2015 21:35 IST

The Himachal Pradesh high court on Friday deferred the hearing of the Priyanka Gandhi land deal case till October 9, and asked state chief information commissioner (CIC) Bhim Sen to be present on the next date.

Bhim Sen had moved an application in the court, saying he was unable to attend court due to his mother-in-law’s death.

Earlier on August 7, a special double bench of justices DC Chaudhary and PS Rana had issued a show cause notice to Bhim Sen and state information commissioner KD Batish, asking them to explain why contempt proceedings shouldn’t be initiated as they had “deliberately disobeyed” the court’s order.

The bench had asked the officials to appear in person. Batish was present at the court on Friday.

The contempt notice to the officers came after Priyanka Gandhi’s counsel told the court that the state information commission had continued hearing the case about divulging of information about Gandhi’s land deals under the RTI Act despite a stay on it.

On July 7, the court had stayed different orders of division bench of Bhim Sen and Batish that had directed the deputy commissioner, additional district magistrate and the sub-divisional magistrate Shimla to divulge information on land bought by Gandhi at Charabara near Shimla town.

Gandhi, however, filed an application that on July 23, the information commission directed the Shimla administration to file a reply regarding delay in providing RTI information regarding her land purchases until the court stay came.

Gandhi alleged that on July 25 the commission again issued notices to Shimla additional district magistrate and others “concealing” the information in the case.

The commission has been maintaining that it committed no contempt of court by asking its officers about the delay before the matter became sub-judice.

“Even top political figures like the Prime Minister and former Prime Ministers with SPG protection provide information about their immovable and movable assets in their election affidavits,” Batish had earlier argued.

Time line

November 19, 2014: RTI activist moves state information commission, files second appeal

June 29, 2015: State information commission directs DC Shimla to divulge information

July 6, 2015: Priyanka Gandhi moves high court against the order

July 7, 2015: High court stays info panel order

July 23, 2015: State information commission issues notice to DC, ADM and SDM for the earlier delay

August 3, 2015: Priyanka files application to stay SIC notices to DC Shimla and others

August 4, 2015: Priyanka files contempt petition

August 7: Show cause to both information commissioners

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