Vigilance Commission receives two petitions seeking copies of the report under RTI Act
Officials maintain Samal report has no official sanctity
Information Commission yet to receive a request for the 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.