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
The Central Vigilance Commission does not want its files opened to public scrutiny under the Right to Information Act.
The CVC, Directorate General of Income Tax, the Railway Protection Force and a slew of government agencies have sought exemption from the RTI act, Indiaâ€™s transparency law, the government disclosed today.
Responding to a question in the Rajya Sabha today, minister of state for personnel and training Suresh Pachauri said 16 government bodies had written to the ministry, asking for exemption.
The armed forces (the army, navy, air force and the coast guard) wanted immunity for security reasons, but their appeal was turned down.
The office of secretary (security) at the cabinet secretariat and the Bureau of Civil Aviation (security) sought exemption on identical grounds, and were also turned down.
The Special Protection Group, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, Border Road Development Board and the Financial Intelligence Unit are the only bodies that have been excluded from the actâ€™s purview, Pachauri said.
New Delhi, Nov. 22
The Telegraph - Calcutta : Nation