RTI Judgement Series
RTI Judgement Series: CIC warns PIO of GNCTD from withholding information about students from EWS

The PIO sent a compliance report to the CIC, however, full information was not made available as per the obligation under Section 4 of the RTI Act. This is the 94th 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, warned the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Directorate of Education in the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to make available full information about students from economically weaker sections (EWS) in Delhi.

While giving this judgement on 29 April 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The Commission hereby warns the PIO that in case any appeals or complaints come to it about non availability of the information, it would consider awarding compensation to the such applicants/complainants for the harassment and the loss and detriment suffered by them.”
 
Delhi resident Ritu Mehra, on 4 March 2010 sought information about students from economically weaker sections (EWS), from the PIO of Directorate of Education in the GNCTD under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Here is the information she sought...

1. How many students have been admitted in public schools under EWS quota in the district, since 2005- 2009?
2. Please provide me the following information related to this:


3. According to Section 40(6), (xii) all the public authorities are mandate to publish this information on the website of the department, but there is no such information available on your website, therefore kindly provide me the following information in context to this:
i) Which officer was responsible to publish all the information on the website?
ii) This information has not been published on the website therefore what action the department is going to take against the responsible officer?    
iii) By when this information would be published on the website?


Here is the reply given by the PIO...
Reply to Q1 & 2: The requisite information in respect of 20 schools of this district running into 20 CDs is available in the office of undersigned, which you may obtain on any working day during office hours by paying Rs50 per CD i.e. a total amount of Rs1,000
Reply to Q3: The information has already uploaded by the HQ on the website of the department.

Earlier also Ms Mehra had filed an RTI seeking the same info, on which the Commission on 21 December 2009 had directed the director of education department at GNCTD to ensure that all information mentioned above will be displayed in the schools in Hindi and English and also on the website of the Department before 25 January 2010.

Therefore claiming harassment, Ms Mehra filed a complaint before the Commission. In her complaint, she stated, “The PIO has not mentioned anywhere that for how many schools the information is yet to be provided. We had talked to the PIO and he himself informed us that he has compiled the information before forwarding to the headquarters, but he is providing us 20 CDs and the rest of the information for left out schools is still awaited. This shows that PIO is harassing us.”

“He (the PIO) has also informed that the information would be available on website but he himself is not sure that information is positively available on website or not,” said Ms Mehra.

She added, “I want to inform you that the ADE (Act) has informed the Commission dated 12 August 2009 that the Commission’s order has been compiled with and all the required information is available on website which is completely wrong and misleading information, because this information is not available till date on the website.”

Earlier on 2 July 2009, the Commission had passed an order directing, KS Yadav, DDE to display on the department’s website, the names and father's names of students from the EWS category for past three years for all schools, on or before 15 August 2009. The Commission, said, it received a letter from Mr Yadav stating that the Commission's order had been complied with and the required information had been uploaded on the website of the department.

During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, discussed the issue with the PIO the letter received on 12 August 2008 and found that the information was not uploaded fully on the education department’s website despite receiving a letter of compliance from the ADE (Act).

Mr Gandhi, then warned the PIO to provide complete information sought by RTI applicants and if the Commission finds out that about non-availability of this information, then it may consider awarding a compensation to such applicant or complainant for the harassment and the loss and detriment suffered by the applicant.

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

Decision No. CIC/SG/C/2010/000317/12207
http://rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/CIC_SG_C_2010_000317_12207_M_55805.pdf
Complaint No. CIC/SG/C/2010/000317

Complainant      : Ritu Mehra
                                Delhi - 110095

Respondent         : JB Singh
                                 Public Information Officer & Dy. Director
                                Govt. of NCT of Delhi,
                                Directorate of Education,
                                South West-B, School Campus,
                                Najafgarh, Delhi
 

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RTI Judgement Series: Helpless AICTE cannot take action against syndicates of dental, medical and engineering colleges

COMEDK, the front of dental, medical and engineering colleges in Karnataka, refused to refund deposits taken from students. AICTE said it cannot take action against the front and was seeking legal opinion, which it was asked to share with the applicant. This is the 93rd 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 All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to share copy of legal advice it sought regarding refund of fees paid by students to a front formed by dental, medical and engineering colleges in Karnataka.

While giving this judgement on 16 February 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “By AICTE's rules the fees of students should be refunded if the seat is allotted to another student. However, the front COMEDK refuses to refund the fees. Feigning ignorance, the AICTE was still seeking legal advice in the matter since the past eight months.”
 
Ghaziabad resident Aneesh Bansal, on 31 March 2008, sought information pertaining to refund of fees from the PIO of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Bansal in an RTI application requested refund of fees deposited at the time of counselling to COMEDK for BE (engineering) at MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology at Bangalore with a letter ref no F No1-101/ DGP/ AICTE, dated 19 November 2007.

In his repeated complaints, dated 15 December 2007, 16 January 2008 and 17 February 2008, Bansal had asked documents regarding the refund of his fees at the concerned college. “I regret to say that I have not received the above mentioned fees till this date and also there is no response to my repeated correspondent,” he stated.

Bansal also asked for certified copies of all the actions taken by the AICTE, as per the rule for his complaint.

The PIO stated that he had provided the information sought by Bansal. He also attached a copy of the answers received on the subject.

Not satisfied with the PIO's reply, Bansal filed his first appeal. In his order the First Appellate Authority (FAA) said, “It is noted that the regional office, AICTE, Bangalore forwarded a letter from MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore dated 24 December 2007 to AICTE, New Delhi, which had given the correct picture of the case. The letter was addressed to Dr Rakesh Kumar, director for public grievances at AICTE, New Delhi with a copy to Aneesh Bansal. Copies of the letters of MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore are sent to you for further necessary action at your level. There is no further information available on this issue at Regional Office, AICTE, Bangalore in this regard.”

Bansal then approached the CIC with his second appeal.

During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that Bansal had paid Rs50,000 to an agency called COMEDK, which is a consortium of various dental, medical and engineering colleges in Karnataka. “The engineering colleges are affiliated to AICTE, and appear to have formed an ingenious method of flouting the rules and regulations of the affiliating body the AICTE,” he observed.

The Commission said, whereas by AICTE’s rules the fees of students should be refunded if the seat (which they refuse after payment of fees) is allotted to another student, the front COMEDK refuses to refund the fees. It said, “AICTE feigns that they are helpless and the respondent states he is still obtaining a legal advice on the matter since over eight months now. The appellant is being told that the information on refund of his fees cannot be provided since the front COMEDK is beyond the pale of all regulation.”

While allowing the appeal, Mr Gandhi, then directed the PIO of AICTE to send a copy of legal advice obtained to the appellant. AICTE should also ensure that its writ runs in colleges which it gives affiliation, the CIC said in its order.

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2008/00284/1678
http://rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/SG-16022009-11.pdf
Appeal No. CIC/ SG/A/2008/00284


Appellant      :  Aneesh Bansal, Ghaziabad - 201002

Respondent:   Nirendra Dev,
                             Dy. Director & PIO,
                             All India Council for Technical Education,
                            7th Floor, Chandra Lok Bhavan, Janpath,
                            New Delhi 110001.

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RTI Judgement Series: Five PIOs say they do not have any information

Five PIOs, who dealt with the RTI application, finally said they did not have any information. The CIC said, this shows a pathetic deficiency in the government where nobody knows who is responsible for something. This is the 92nd 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 principal secretary to the Lt Governor of Delhi to enquire into the matter and send the correct information to the appellant and the Commission before 10 May 2009.

While giving this judgement on 27 April 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “After five Public Information Officers (PIOs) had dealt with this, the PIO of the services department at the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) came up with the great information that they did not have any information. This shows a pathetic deficiency in the government, where nobody knows who is responsible for something.”
 
New Delhi resident Mamta, on 20 November 2008, sought information pertaining to the powers of the Lt. Governor of GNCTD from the PIO of services department under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Here is the information she sought...

1. Whether the Lt Governor, GNCTD is competent in his individual official capacity to make service rules/policy provisioning re-appointment of retired government servants of the Delhi government on contract basis without a Bill to this effect passed by Delhi Legislative Assembly?
2. If yes, how long the rules so notified/ introduced by the Lt Governor will remain valid/operative, if the same is not tabled before Delhi Legislative Assembly for passage?
3. Whether the Lt Governor, GNCTD can make rules/legislation independently in exercise of his powers of legislative subordination? What is his extent of subordinate legislation?
4. Certified copy of official document/orders which empowers the Lt Governor to make rules provisioning contract re-appointment of retired government servant may be supplied.


In his reply the PIO stated,”...your letter noF17/290/08/RTI/GAD/Admn/3723-24 dated 28 November 2008 (received on 1 December 2008) of General Administration Department (GAD) whereby your application (now allotted ID No 639/ RTI/ Services) was  forwarded to this department also under the RTI (Right to Information) Act.  In this connection, it is informed that this department does not deal with the subject matter. Therefore, the information asked for is not available with this department.”

Not satisfied with the reply, Mamta filed her first appeal. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) said, “I have heard the appellant and the PIO and gone through the RTI application and appeal of the appellant and is of the view that as this department does not deal with the subject matter raised by the appellant in his appeal and RTI application, the appellant was appropriately replied. Nothing subsists in the appeal."

Mamta then approached the CIC with her second appeal.

During the hearing the PIO stated that the application was made to the PIO of the Delhi Legislative Assembly Secretariat who transferred the application to GAD. The GAD in turn transferred it to the PIO of the services department and PIO at Lt Governor's Secretariat. In short, five PIOs dealt with the RTI application and came up with the answer that they do not have any information.

While allowing the appeal, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, said this (forwarding the application to five PIOs and then saying that no information available) shows a pathetic deficiency in the government.

He then directed the principal secretary to the Lt Governor to enquire into this matter and send the correct information to the appellant (Mamta).

CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION

Decision No. CIC /SG/A/2009/000382/2957
http://rti.india.gov.in/cic_decisions/SG-27042009-18.pdf
Appeal No. CIC /SG/A/2009/000382

Appellant       : Mamta
                            Delhi.
    
Respondent    : PIO
                            Govt. of NCT of Delhi
                            Services Department: Coordination Branch
                            Delhi Secretariat, 7th Level, 'B' Wing
                            IP Estate, New Delhi- 110113.
 

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