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“It is not right in God’s sight to obey men rather than God.”

Himachal High Court stays SIC order in Priyanka land issue

Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday stayed the State Information Commission (SIC) order directing Deputy Commissioner Shimla to disclose information about Priyanka Vadra land at Chharabra, 13 km from Shimla, within 10 days .

The order was passed by the SIC on an appeal by RTI activist Devashish Bhattacharaya against denial of information about land purchased by Priyanka Vadra in Shimla during the previous Congress regime in 2007 and later in 2011 when BJP was in power.

A division bench comprising Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Justice PS Rana, which heard the petition filed by Priyanka Vadra through her power of attorney Gautam Sood, ordered “we are of the considered opinion that the petitioner has carved out a prima facie case for grant of interim relief. Accordingly, the operation and execution of orders passed on June 29,2015 and the earlier order passed on November 28,2014 are ordered to be stayed.”

Bhattacharya had also filed a caveat in the High Court, which was taken up along with the petition. During the arguments, a team of lawyers who appeared for Priyanka Vandra informed the court that they had opposed the disclosure of the information on the ground that she (Priyanka Vadra) was a SPG protectee and grant of information about her property/house, will put her life at risk .

Quoting section 8 of the RTI, the petitioner maintained she had the right to seek exemption due to apprehension of danger to her life and physical safety.

At this the court observed “second respondent ( State information Commission) appears to have been totally oblivious to the English common law maxim that says every man’s house is his castle and therefore there could be nothing more deleterious to a person’s physical happiness, health and safety than a calculated interference with his privacy. Needless to observe that this maxim is also embedded in Article 21 of the Constitution of India itself.”