Info panel's directive

Staff Reporter

Part with info sought by rights activist by May 4

Biswapriya Kanungo seeks copy of probe report on police firing at Sorana Home Department accused of not obliging the request made under RTI Act

BHUBANESWAR: The State Information Commission on Thursday ordered that Principal Secretary, Home Department, would have to be present in person before it if the department failed to clarify its position on providing information to a human rights activist by May 4.

For over nine months Biswapriya Kanungo had been trying to get a copy of the report of Justice P.K. Tripathy Commission of Inquiry that probed into the police firing on fishermen at Sorana village in Puri district in 1999. The report had since been submitted to the State government. Mr. Kanungo sought a copy of the report under the Right To Information Act in June 2006.

`Breach of privilege'

The Home Department had been rejecting the application saying that the supply of report would attract breach of privilege as it was not tabled in Orissa Legislative Assembly (OLA) and the action taken report not approved by the government.

However, the commission discarded the contention of the Home Department saying since the OLA had not constituted the commission there was no question of breach of privilege. The department was asked to furnish the report within 15 days on January 9 last. On Thursday, the commission rejected the Home Department's request for granting it another three months to get stay order from court and asked the department to report on or before May 4.

"If there is no further development meanwhile, the Principal Secretary, Home Department, shall have to be present in person on May 4," the commission said.