The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Aug 19: The Manipur Information Commission has upheld the right of the joint secretary, Board of Secondary Education, Manipur, Ph Nandakumar, who is currently under suspension from service, to have access to the report submitted by the enquiry committee which looked into the irregularities allegedly committed by him during his tenure as secretary in-charge of the board.
The commission, acting on a petition filed by Nandakumar, has directed the Board of Secondary Education Manipur, to furnish a copy of the report submitted by the enquiry committee to the petitioner within a period of seven days.
The petition was filed by Nandakumar following the refusal of the SPIO, education department, to furnish the same when sought for under the provisions of the Right To Information Act.
The commission, in its directive issued yesterday, observed that the secretary, BSEM, had submitted to the commission that the matter had been referred to the legal advisor of the board, who opined that the report of the enquiry comittee should be made available only after the completion of departmental proceedings that is being taken up by the board.
The commission in this context made it clear that seeking advice of legal advisor is an internal matter of the board, and cannot be a valid reason for denying the information.
The commission further noted that the information sought does not fail under the exempted category, and even if it is considered confidential, under section 22 of the RTI, which has over-riding effect on all laws, the information can be accessed by the public.
Mention may be made that Nandakumar was suspended from his service as in-charge of the secretary of the BSEM on various charges levelled against him, among others, that of making irregular engagements and appointments for various posts in the board and drawals of his monthly salary at the pay scale of a full time secretary.
A committee headed by Kh Direndra Singh IAS (retd) constituted by the BSEM made an enquiry and submitted the report to the government.
In a related case, the state information commission has also directed that a copy of the action taken report on the recommendations of the state vigilance commission against L Rajmohan Singh, who is currently the controller of examinations and secretary in-charge of the board, should be furnished to Nandakumar.
Suspended officer`s right to access enquiry report upheld :: KanglaOnline ~ Your Gateway
Officials in a fix over Samal report
HYDERABAD: Officials in the State Vigilance Commission seem to have been caught in the proverbial Catch 22 situation over the controversial ‘Samal report.’
Whether a copy of this ‘report’ can be obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act still remains a million-dollar question. After the 56-page report was released to media by former Vigilance Commissioner R.C. Samal soon after demitting office on September 7, the Vigilance Commission received two petitions under the Act, seeking copies of the ‘report’.
Confirming that a couple of petitioners have sought the copies of the report under the RTI Act, a senior Vigilance Commission official says: “As per the Act, we have to accept every petition and we have done so in these two cases also.”
No report submitted
While Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has admitted that Mr. Samal has not submitted any annual report to the Government, sources say that the report that caused ripples was just a press statement and had no “official sanctity.”
Interestingly, officials are indeed in a dilemma as to whether or not to classify the report as ‘official’.
A section of officials argue that it cannot be construed as an official report since Mr. Samal has not submitted it to the Government.
The other argument is that even if it has not been submitted to the Government, the mere preparation of the report by the Vigilance Commissioner should be treated as an official document. That whether Mr. Samal had ‘leaked’ the complete report verbatim or parts of it remains a puzzle.
Officials in the State Information Commission (SIC), however, feel that a copy of such a report can be given only if it is ‘official’. “We have not received any request so far from any individual,” they say.
The Hindu : Andhra Pradesh / Hyderabad News : Officials in a fix over Samal report