Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Punjab

HC stays info penal order on appearing in DC office

ASHOK KAURA | January 16, 2021 04:40 PM

NURMAHAL: The Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC) has stayed an order of the Punjab State Information Commission issued to applicant for appearing in DC Office, Mohali through video conferencing on next date of hearing. Petitioner –cum advocate H.C. Arora said that he is of 69 years’ age, and suffering from co-morbidities, including hyper-tension and diabetes, submitted at least four representations to the State Information Commission, Punjab, during the period July, 2020 to November, 2020, requesting that he may not be asked to appear before the Info. panel (in the appeal preferred by him before the Commission, on behalf of his client , against PIO of the Punjab Police department through Video Conferencing at DC Office, Mohali but of no avail.

He submitted before the HC in writ petition that information panel has been functioning through video conferencing, and has been asking the parties to visit DC Office, Mohali for attending hearings. Petitioner said that he has been requesting the Commission to allow him hearing on his mobile phone through CISCO WEBEX system, as he does not afford the risk to visit a crowded place, like DC Office, for participating in hearing on account of situation created by Covid-19. He challenged the order dated November 20th, 2020, issued by State Information Commission, again asking him to appear in DC Office, Mohali on January 20th through video-conferencing.

Petitioner levelled a serious allegation that the Info. Panel is also having facility of hearing through CESIS WEBEX, and is hearing cases through said system also, on the mobile phones of the parties, and one Information Commissioner, Dr. Pawan Kumar Singla, is hearing all cases through this system on mobile phones, but petitioner, despite being a lawyer is being repeatedly asked to visit DC Office, Patiala for purpose of hearing through video conferencing.

The HC bench comprising Justice Ritu Bahri, after hearing the petitioner, and also the State Counsel, issued notice of motion to respondents for February 10, while directing that the petitioner shall not be required to appear in DC Office, Mohall on next date of hearing.

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