Shimla land row: Priyanka moves HC seeking stay on notices issued

  • Gaurav Bisht, Hindustan Times, Shimla
  • Updated: Aug 04, 2015 13:49 IST

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday filed an application before the Himachal Pradesh high court demanding a stay on the state information commission order that had directed Shimla additional district magistrate (ADM) and sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) to divulge information on the land brought by her at Chharabra village to build a cottage.

On July 23, the single bench of state chief information commissioner Bhim Sen, while hearing the petition of right to information (RTI) activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, had issued notices to the ADM for concealing information in the land purchase issue, and commented that the ADM and SDM offices did not maintain records, adding to delay in providing information.

In her application filed on Monday, Priyanka through her counsel stated that the matter was interlinked to her previous petition that had challenged the commission's orders of June 29 that had ordered the district administration to provide information within 10 days. The high court had fixed the next date of hearing on August 7, while the state information commission had listed the case for August 20.

Priyanka's counsel Gautam Sood refused to comment when reached over phone.

In its on June 29 order, a division bench of state chief information commissioner Bhim Sen and state information commissioner Kalidass Batish had summoned the Shimla DC and ADM. Countering the security grounds cited by the former, Batish had argued, "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."

Staying the order on July 7, the high court observed, "It is more than settled that access to information under section 3 of the RTI Act is the rule and exemption under section 8 is the exception. Section 8 being restriction of fundamental rights must, therefore, be strictly construed."

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