The Committee of Privileges and Ethics of the Kerala Assembly has decided to summon State Chief Information Commissioner of Kerala Palat Mohandas on charges of breach of privileges of the House.
The action is over the Commission’s order, in an appeal petition, directing the State Public Information Officer and Additional Secretary of the Legislature Secretariat V. Jayalekshmi Amma to supply video recording of a speech made in the Assembly to the applicant under the Right to Information Act (RTI). The Commission had also proposed action against Jayalekshmi Amma for not complying with its order.
Speaker K. Radhakrishnan, who maintained that the orders of the Commission could amount to a breach of privilege of the House, referred the matter to the Committee. The Committee decided to summon the Commissioner and hear him.
The Chairman of the Committee told The Hindu said that the issue involved a question of privilege as the House had the right to deny public access to any (electronic) document that it considered as privileged. The video recording was something it kept temporarily.
The Public Information Officer had only supplied the applicant the edited and printed copy of the proceedings in response to the RTI request while the applicant D. B. Binu, an advocate and secretary of Human Right Defence Forum, had sought the video recording also. The proceedings requested was that of a speech delivered by Kerala Congress (Jacob) leader T. M. Jacob during a debate on a no-confidence motion in 2005.