The applicant was seeking to know why the DEC did not recommend UGC for a CBI enquiry against Allahabad Agricultural Institute-Deemed University (AAIDU). The CIC noted this as an important issue, but said it can only ensure delivery of information and cannot order an enquiry. This is the 97th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC) while allowing an appeal directed the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the human resources ministry to provide the rule or proviso by which post-facto recognition was given to Allahabad Agricultural Institute-Deemed University (AAIDU).
While giving this judgement on 12 February 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The appellant is raising an important public issue, but Right to Information (RTI) can only ensure delivery of information.”
Allahabad resident JP Singh, on 25 June 2008 sought information about Distance Education Council (DEC), deemed status of AAIDU and guidelines for provisional recognition of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institutions. Here is the information he sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the reply given by the PIO...
1. Please inform whether DEC’s action was only to terrorise AAIDU and sparing them for committing a Rs300 crore distance education scam.
PIO's reply: In connection with financial irregularities of any institution, it is submitted that enquiring into financial irregularities, etc in a university, statutorily created by the state, is not under the jurisdiction of the Distance Education Council. Only promotion, coordination and maintenance of standards and quality assurance of programmes come under the purview of the DEC.
2. In the above context, what were the hidden agenda of DEC/UGC then under the former sacked secretary of UGC?
PIO's reply: Does not pertain to DEC.
3. Please inform me why DEC did not recommend UGC for a CBI enquiry against Dr Rajendra Behari Lal VC, AAIDU, who cheated distance education students the second time, collecting crores fraudulently during January to March 2006 despite press statement of Arjun Singh minister of HRD in DEC 2005?
PIO's reply: Please refer to response to query (1) it may also be informed that the DEC has accorded ex-post facto recognition to AAIDU, in the interest of students that had already received qualifications till 2005 only.
4. Please refer to the Circular No. F.6.1 (7)/2006 (CP-1) dated May 19, 2008 & press coverage dated 29 May 2008 and 4 June 2008, respectively.
Please inform how has DEC alone issued such a vague letter to AAIDU dated 29 August 2007, when there has to be an approved from Joint Committee of UGC, AICTE & DEC?
In the above context please inform me how has DEC nullified all AAIDU failed.
Please inform me what is the motive of DEC behind this shady deal? Why deemed status of AAIDU still exists.
PIO's reply: DEC has accorded ex-post-facto recognition to AAIDU, in the interest of students that had already received qualification, till 2005 only. The decision has been approved by the joint UGC-AICTE-DEC committee. For information on deemed to be status of AAIDU you may approach UGC directly.
5. Revised guidelines for provisional recognition of ODL institutions on DEC website enclosed for your reference. Please inform me how DEC spared/overlooked its circulars & UGC's dated 2nd December, 23rd August, illegal offshore campuses and more than 105 unapproved coursed on/off campus? Please clear the above guidelines to me & since when do the provisional recognition commence? Please inform when will DEC in the interest of the country and students recommended to UGC for a CBI probe into Rs300 crore distance education scam? Please respond within time under RTI rules s hundreds of off/on campus students of AAIDU approach our press.
PIO's reply: DEC has accorded ex-post-facto recognition to AAIDU in the interest of students that had already received qualifications, till 2005 only.
In connection with financial irregularities, etc you are hereby informed that the matter does not come under the jurisdiction of the distance education council only promotion coordination and maintenance of standards and quality assurance of programmes come under the purview of the DEC. As such, it is submitted that DEC is not empowered to intervene in such matters of the university and you may adopt proper lime of action or may take such steps as deemed fit in this case.
Not satisfied with the reply, Singh filed his first appeal.
In his order the First Appellate Authority stated, “The reply was given based on the information available with the DEC. The Council is not empowered to initiate such action as desired by you (Singh). However, I would like to reiterate that keeping in mind the interest of students as well as the authority given to DEC, necessary action has already been taken in providing the post facto approval to AAIDU till 2005. The above university was also accorded provisional recognition for one academic year 2007-08.The DEC also sent a team to visit the university and submit its report on the functioning of the distance education directorate for consideration of its request to continue recognition. The same will be place in the next Joint Committee Meeting of UGC-AICTE-DEC for further directions.”
“As you are appealing to the undersigned as the Appellate Authority. I fail to understand how to initiate action against Director, DEC who himself happens to be Appellate Authority. However, you may take any further course of action as you may desire,” the FAA added.
Not satisfied with the FAA's reply, Singh then approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that the information appears to have been given to Singh. Although Singh has raised an important issue, the Commission can only ensure delivery of information, he said.
Singh pointed out that he wants the rule or proviso by which post-facto recognition was given. The PIO stated that there is no such rule. While allowing the appeal, the CIC directed the PIO to give this information to the appellant in writing.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC /SG/A/2008/00231/1597
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2008/00231
Appellant : JP Singh,
Respondent : YV Ramakrishna Rao,
Ministry of HRD, Govt. of India
Indira Gandhi National Open University,
Maidan Garhi, New Delhi-110068
The sun teaches two important lessons: it does not make any difference and shines on everyone, rich or poor showing us the universality of existence. The more important lesson that the sun teaches us is humility, the kingpin for good health and happiness. The sun has been burning for so long without exhausting his fuel!
Niels Reyberg Finson was an Icelander who studied both in Iceland and Denmark. After graduation in medicine he started doing his own curious research although he tried to do many other things in addition, without much success. He was the first to treat skin tuberculosis with sunlight showing thereby the anti-germ effect of sunlight. In the year 1903, Reyberg, who was by then crippled by a killer disease, got a Nobel Prize for his work.
We get our energy for running the body chemistry from the ultraviolet region of sunlight. If the sun were to go on strike we will all perish! In addition, sunlight gives us the most useful vitamin D3, which is the basis of our immune system health and bone health. Animals which have their back to the sun all the time do not get decreased bone density. People in Europe and the northern hemisphere need more exposure to sun to remain healthy, especially in winter. They cannot tolerate very hot sun as they have melanin deficiency in their skin compared to us in the tropics. If they migrate to the tropics, after a few generations, their progeny also would be dark skinned like us and vice versa.
However, the drug and cosmetic industry funded research has created a myth that sunlight is bad for the skin and might produce skin cancers, etc. If that were true most of us and all Africans should be full of skin cancers. They sell billions of dollars’ worth skin care products—most of which contain dangerous carcinogenic chemicals. Independent research has proven that the skin cancer increase in incidence is basically due to these chemicals and not the sun.
Bio-mimicry is the new name for learning science from nature. Nature does not do any activity that is destructive to humans and other inhabitants of the planet. Sunlight, by no stretch of imagination, can be bad for us. Too much of anything is bad anyway. Lot of our elderly folk would do well to expose themselves to good sunlight to keep their health in good shape and specially their bone health. The need for taking artificial vitamin D3 and the dangerous calcium salts could all be stopped if we expose ourselves to sun without any cream. Even dark glasses might not be good for the eyes as our pineal gland and the pituitary gland get their stimulus from the sunlight entering the eyes!
Incidentally oral calcium supplements have come under great research and now we know that calcium does lot of damage to the health. Firstly, calcium intake as a chemical only increases the calcium loss in the urine—so called calcium induced calcium loss. At the end of the day one might end up with negative calcium balance. In addition calcium intake has been shown to increase vessel wall calcium deposits worsening atherosclerosis. But the calcium deposits in the heart vessels might stimulate heart attacks also!
Now comes another study from Edinburgh University where scientists observed that sunlight stimulates human cells to increase the production of nitric oxide, the best elixir for vessel health. Nitric oxide is the stuff that keeps our blood vessels relaxed and open thus lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow to all organs. The ultraviolet light in the sun's rays stimulate the nitric oxide synthase in the cell cytoplasm which in turn switches on the production of more nitric oxide (NO), the health giving endothelium relaxing factor (EDRF).
The same rays also stimulate two other vital enzymes in the cell cytoplasm—HSP 70 and VEGF synthase. The first one, otherwise called the stress relaxing protein (SRP) helps many body functions while VEGF protein encourages neo-vascularisation, new vessel forming for collateral circulation, very good for the heart. All in all sunlight is the best tonic that you can get for free! It beats all the pharma giants in its protean actions in the body from germ killing to cell stimulation and supplying bone density promoter vitamin D3.
Philosophically the sun teaches a very good health giving lesson to mankind. Now we know that the mind runs the body, the health of the mind is vital to our health. Negative thoughts are the killers, jokingly put—it is NOT what you eat that kills; it is what eats you that kills you. Among the negative thoughts the worst killers are hatred, greed, jealousy, anger and pride. The sun teaches two important lessons: sun does not make any difference and shines on everyone, rich or poor showing us the universality of existence. The more important lesson that the sun teaches us is humility, the kingpin for good health and happiness. The sun looks very big as he emerges on the eastern horizon but as he goes up he becomes smaller and smaller thereby telling mankind that the higher you rise in life, the humbler you become. I think this is the best advice that one could give for keeping good health. When we become truly humble, according to Indian traditions humility if the highest education, we get rid of all negative thoughts, the true causes of illness and pain.
Sun is the be all and end all of all existence. The sun has been burning for so long without exhausting his fuel!
(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society's Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former Vice Chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for Cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London.)
There are three sets of records of the same call log from the police control room, reveals RTI filed by Vinita Kamte. This prompted the state CIC to direct the Additional Home Secretary to conduct a probe, pinpoint individuals responsible and submit a report by 10th June on the alleged tampering into call log records during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack
Bad enough that call log records procured under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, of 26 and 27 November 2011, showed non-communication between the Police Control Room and the three officers on Ground Zero, which probably led to their killing by the terrorists. Vinita Kamte, wife Ashok Kamte, the Additional Commissioner of Police who was killed in the Mumbai terror attack, procured these records using the Right to Information (RTI).
Now it is mysterious case of three sets of the same call log records of the South Control Room, Mumbai, including the one submitted in the charge sheet, which show three different timings, handwriting and contents of the Cama Hospital incident of 26/11. So, which one is the true and original? In order to find out the truth, Vinita had filed an appeal to State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC) of Maharashtra.
Last fortnight, SCIC Ratnakar Gaikwad gave a stern order asking the Additional Home Secretary to carry out a probe. He stated that since this information relates to the applicant’s husband who is a martyr of the 26/11 terror attack, any discrepancy in information is a serious matter. Hence, it should be thoroughly probed and individuals pinned down in case there indeed has been tampering of the documents.
Gaikwad, in his order stated that the hearing of Vinita Kamte’s appeal was to be held on 11 March 2013 but due to the absence of the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Mumbai Police and Additional Commissioner, the hearing was postponed. Finally, it was heard on 24th April wherein PIO Phansalkar and Additional Police Commissioner (Administration) ND Pawar were present. Vinita Kamte too was present. Pawar stated during the hearing that he was unable to answer as to why there is discrepancy in information in the three sets of the same call log records.
Gaikwad then ruled that in order to establish that the information given to Vinita is not with any ulterior motive, malicious and deliberate, it merits an investigation into whether there has indeed been tampering of records. For this, the Additional Home Secretary should conduct a probe and pinpoint the individuals responsible for it, in case it has been established that there is a difference in the information given. Additional Secretary, Home was asked to submit the probe report on 20th May but he has bought time. Now, the deadline has been extended to 10th June.
According to reliable sources, the Additional Home Secretary’s office is in a tizzy and is trying its best to defend itself by proving that the call log records cannot be tampered with. However, since the three different sets of documents given by the Mumbai Police are certified copies given under RTI to Vinita, it would be interesting to see how it is going to tackle it and come out clean.
Curiously, it is the the call log records pertaining to the Cama Hospital episode only in which ATS Chief Hemant Karkare, Additional Commissioner for Eastern Region, Ashok Kamte and encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar were killed, the ones where you can see the brazen difference of timings (see the scanned document). Vinita said she was awaiting the completion of terrorist Kasab’s case to bring out this discrepancy in public and so has raked it up with the SCIC, only after his hanging.
Vinita Kamte in her second appeal states, “Since both the call log records pertain to the same channel i.e South Channel, there ought not to have been any difference between the two copies and both ought to have been the identical copies of the original call log register. However, the copies of both the said call log records received by me on 5 November 2009 and 18 February 2010 for the period from 26 November 2008 to 27 November 2008 differ in writing and in timings and in contents therein. In view of the aforesaid material discrepancies the respondents (Mumbai Police) ought to state as to which out of the said two documents (two call log records) furnished to me under the Right to Information Act, is the authentic one. It is thus evident that the public information officers, knowingly gave incorrect and misleading information to me and it is in these circumstances, that I have lodged the present complaint.”
“It is submitted that prior to furnishing me with the information under the Right to Information Act, the said call log record of the South region was already included in the charge-sheet filed in the criminal case (Ajmal Qasab’s Case) …after coming to know that the call log records have been included in the charge-sheet, I obtained the copy of the call log records included in the charge-sheet… When the call log records included in the charge-sheet was compared with the said two copies of call log records received by me, I was shocked to note that there was a considerable difference in respect of the timings and the events even in the call log records included in the Charge sheet and the two sets received by me.”
States Vinita, “Why should there be discrepancy in the timings of the Cama Hospital Incident? Was the ineptitude or mistakes committed by those manning the Control Room being covered? Are officers who tried to run away or who did not respond being shielded? There are serious questions that need to be answered. What were the reasons to tamper with the timings, if it was done? Thorough inquiry needs to be conducted in this matter. I hope this matter is taken with the seriousness it deserves. I had kept quiet, keeping in mind the larger interest of the country, however, now that the hanging of kasab is over, we need answers to our questions.”
Vinita’s demand with the SCIC:
(Vinita Deshmukh is the consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)