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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Reveal admission test marks, CIC tells FMS

Publication: Times Of India Delhi; Date: Jun 8, 2009; Section: Times City; Page: 4
Manash Pratim Gohain | TNN 

New Delhi: The dean of Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University has been served a showcause notice by the Central Information Commission (CIC) for not furnishing information under RTI regarding the marks break-up of students admitted to its MBA programme. 

 The RTI was filed by the student who had topped the FMS written test in 2008 but could not make it to the flagship management programme as his extempore, interview and GD marks were not good enough. CIC has asked FMS to give the information sought — an order that may force B-schools across the country to disclose their admission test marks breakups too or be flooded with RTIs. 

    CIC has asked the Public Information Officer (PIO) to explain why penalty should not be levied under Section 20 (1). The commission held dean J K Mitra (deemed PIO) guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified has said that it raises doubt about the refusal being malafide. The order came in response to the student’s appeal. 

    On April 9, 2008 Nitesh Duhan, a MBA (Management Services student) of the 2010 batch filed an RTI seeking information on written, group discussion (GD), extempore and personal interview (PI) marks of each of the candidates who were admitted to the MBA programme. The DU registrar who is the first appellate authority had asked FMS to give the information to the PIO by July 31, 2008 so that the appellant gets it by August 14, 2008. 

    On May 6, 2008 Duhan received a reply stating that information is denied under section 8 (1) (j) as ‘‘disclosure of the same to the applicant can be objected to by the candidates concerned.’’ It came with a copy of the merit list for the MBA MS programme. Duhan then approached the DU registrar on June 3, 2008. 

    ‘‘Despite the order I received no information and I told this to the FAA in February 2009. I wrote three more applications, the last one on March 25, 2009. Finally I was provided given a copy of the MBA merit list on March 31, 2009 but there was still no break-up of marks,’’ said Duhan. 

    The CIC notice said: ‘‘It is also apparent that inspite of the clear order of the FAA to give the information by August 14, 2008, the information had not been provided to the appellant until March 31, 2009. The respondents were asked to explain the reasons for this and it appears from their statements that dean, FMS had taken a position that this information could not be given. All officers in public authority have to understand that they are bound to obey the laws and the structures thereof. It appears that Professor J K Mitra, dean, FMS has taken a position to defy the order of the FAA under RTI.’’ 

In its decision allowing the appeal CIC said that the PIO will give the information mentioned before June 15, 2009. The CIC said: ‘‘From the facts before the Commission it is apparent that the deemed PIO Professor J K Mitra, dean FMS, is guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section 7 by not replying within 30 days, as per requirement of the RTI Act. He has further refused to obey the orders of his superior officer, which raises a reasonable doubt that the denial of information may also be malafide. The FAA has clearly ordered the information to be given.’’ 

    Mitra refused to comment. But sources say the admission committee would soon meet to discuss the reply to the notice. 

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