RTI Judgement Series: CBI enquiry of AAIDU in distance education scam
Moneylife Digital Team 22 May 2013

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.




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

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