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.”