HRD Ministry rejects RTI query seeking to make report on Rohith Vemula's death public
The Appellate Authority said the panel's report was under submission and cannot be shared.
The Human Resource Development Ministry has rejected a Right to Information appeal seeking to make public the details of a panel’s report on the death of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula, PTI reported on Sunday. The ministry said the concerned report, prepared by the Roopanwal Commission, had been submitted but a copy of it could not be provided.
Following this, PTI had filed an appeal with the First Appellate Authority of the ministry, however, it was told that there was nothing wrong with the reply given earlier by the Central Public Information Officer. “Your appeal stands disposed of as far as the answering Appellate Authority is concerned,” the HRD Ministry reportedly said. However, the Appellate Authority said a second appeal can be made before the Central Information Commission.
Rohith Vemula, a Dalit scholar at the University of Hyderabad, had committed suicide on January 17, 2016, accusing the administration of caste-based discrimination. Days before he killed himself, Vemula had been suspended from the university along with five other students for allegedly assaulting an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad leader. Vice Chancellor Appa Rao Podile had been named in the FIR filed in the case, along with Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya. University students had held protests for days seeking Podile’s resignation after his death.
In February 2016, the HRD Ministry had appointed a Commission of Inquiry under Justice (retired) Ashok Kumar Roopanwal to look into the events. In August 2016, the Roopanwal Commission had concluded that Vedula was not a member of the Scheduled Caste. The panel had also exonerated Podile and other authorities implicated in the case.