Himachal HC stays order on Priyanka’s land deal details

Shimla, July 7 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday stayed a directive of the state information commission to the government to provide information about the land purchase by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Vadra near this popular hill station.

A division bench comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice P.S. Rana observed that “prima facie, the plea of the petitioner (Vadra) is acceptable”.

Listing the case for next hearing on August 7, the bench said the information commission “has not interpreted rightly” Section 8(1)(g) of the Right to Information (RTI) Act that speaks about the disclosure of information which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes.

Vadra’s counsel challenged the information commission’s June 29 order that directed the deputy commissioner of Shimla to provide within 10 days details about the land purchased by Priyanka Vadra.

“Provide information about Priyanka Vadra’s land deal at Mashobra (near Shimla) within 10 days to an RTI activist. The decision to impose penalty on the officials who failed to provide information within stipulated timeframe would be decided on July 23,” the commission had said.

The order by the high court bench came after an application by RTI activist Devashish Bhattacharya came up for hearing.

The information under the RTI Act was sought in July 2014, but was denied by the Shimla deputy commissioner saying Priyanka Vadra was a high-profile person and providing information could have a direct bearing on her security provided by the Special Protection Group.

The information commission had also issued a show-cause notice to the deputy commissioner and others as to why penalty should not be imposed on them for not providing the information.

 

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