For More Info Log on to

Google Groups Subscribe to RTI Group
Browse Archives at

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Deemed varsities can’t skip RTI: CIC

The Tribune
04 April 2009
Deemed varsities can’t skip RTI: CIC
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 3
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that all deemed universities in the country are public authority and cannot escape divulging information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
This interesting ruling was made by Information Commissioner Sailesh Gandhi on an application moved by Mahavir Chopda of Mumbai against NMIMS University, Mumbai, when the latter refused to divulge information on the fee collected by it from students who had cancelled their admissions.
While giving the judgement, Gandhi also directed the university to present all information sought by the applicant by April 20. In his application moved before the CIC, Chopda sought to know how many students cancelled their admission after paying fee to the university’s FT-MBA course. He also wanted to know what amount of fee was retained by the NMIMS.
The university refused to divulge the information on the grounds that it was not a public authority. It was relying on an order of the Rajasthan SIC where it was ruled that a deemed university was not a public authority.
On the arguments presented by the counsel for the university that it was not a public authority, the CIC, in its initial hearing on January 14 last, sought to know whether NMIMS was public authority by virtue of being a deemed university. It also sought to know whether the NMIMS had been ‘substantially financed’ by the government or had received land concessions and subsidies and whether it was exempted from paying income tax.
To this, the NMIMS filed an affidavit stating that it had not obtained land at concessional rates nor were the donations received exempted from income tax and again sought to clarify that it was not a public authority.
In response to the affidavit filed by the university, the CIC said “public authority” meant authority or body or institution of self government established or constituted by or under the Constitution, by any law made by Parliament, by any other law made by State Legislature, by notification issued or order made by the appropriate government. Therefore, any authority or body established or constituted by notification issued by the appropriate government was a “public authority” under the RTI Act.
As NMIMS agreed that it was conferred the status of deemed university by a notification issued by the Central government, the CIC, on March 27 last, ruled that since the university had been conferred the status of a deemed university by virtue of notification No. F.9-37/2001-U-3 dated January 13, 2003, of the Government of India, it clearly met the criterion of Section 2 (d) of the RTI Act since it got its status as ‘deemed university’ by virtue of a notification by the Central government.
It ruled, “All deemed universities are public authority as defined under the RTI Act. Since NMIMS University is also a deemed university by virtue of a notification by the Central Government, it is a public authority and must furnish information as mandated by the RTI Act.

No comments: