Proceeding in an adjunct matter highlighted the need for certain proactive disclosures by the public authority like the University of Delhi. This is the 188th 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) and deputy registrar at the University of Delhi to ensure that details of the Internal Assessment Scheme be put up on the Universities' website in fulfilment with Section 4 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
While giving the judgement on 17 September 2009, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, "...the discussions revealed that there was some lack of understandings on the part of the respondent (PIO) about the nature of information to be given. This was also coupled with poor record keeping at the public authority. The Bench directs the PIO Jay Chanda to ensure that the details of the Internal Assessment Scheme be put up on the Universities' website in fulfilment of its Section 4 compliance."
New Delhi resident, AN Prasad, on 20 October 2008, sought from the PIO information regarding meetings of Executive Council, Academic Council and internal assessment procedures. Here is the information he sought and the reply provided by the PIO...
1. The certified copy of executive council resolution no. 05 dated 1 May 2003.
PIO's reply—A copy of the Executive Council Resolution No. 5 dated 1 May 2003 had been provided to the appellant. The applicant is required to deposit Rs10 towards the cost of 5 pages being provided to him.
2. The certified copy of the meeting minutes and resolutions passed of the Academic council at its meeting held on the 18 July 2003.
PIO's reply—A copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the Academic Council held on 18 July 2003 had been provided to the appellant. The applicant is required to deposit Rs22 towards the cost of 11 pages being provided to him.
3. The name(s) and designation(s) of the officials of the University Moderation Committee(s) (subject wise) and the process of selection of the members of these Committee(s).
PIO's reply—The information sought by the applicant is exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1) (g) of the Act because information sought by the applicant if disclosed would endanger the physical safety of the members of moderation committee(s).
4. The Names of Colleges/department etc. and the Courses, Specific papers/topics wherein the Internal Assessment marks have been moderated in the examinations held in the years 2006, 2007 & 2008 and the decision making process adopted for doing the same.
PIO's reply—The moderation of internal assessment marks is done as per guidelines contained in the Ordinances and EC Resolution etc.
5. Certified copies of complaints/grievances received by the university since the date of implementation till date, with respect to the Internal Assessment scheme, and details of the further action taken on them.
PIO's reply—It has been informed by the Examination Office that complaints have been disposed of as per the decision of Internal Assessment Monitoring Committee (IAMC).
6. Details of any committee(s) constituted for reviewing the internal assessment scheme.
PIO's reply—A Committee was constituted by the Vice Chancellor to look after the grievances of Colleges regarding internal assessment in the year 2007-08. The Committee had representation of various Faculties, Colleges and Academic Council/Executive Council Members.
Not satisfied with the PIO's reply, Prasad filed his first appeal. In his order, the First Appellant Authority (FAA) said, "The information sought by the appellant was provided but the appellant is not satisfied in respect of information provided against point nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6. After considering the appeal, it is directed that-
Point no. 3: The contention of the appellant cannot be accepted and information sought by the appellant is exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1) (g) of the Act.
Point no. 4: Copy of EC Resolution, if any, on the subject of internal assessment may be provided to the appellant.
Point no. 5: The information sought by the appellant is vague as no separate list is maintained of all the complaints/ representations received by the University regarding internal assessment.
Point no. 6: The details regarding the committee constituted by the Vice-Chancellor to look into the grievances of colleges regarding internal assessment in the year 2007-08 may be provided to the appellant by 15th January 2009".
Not satisfied with the PIO's reply and order by the FAA, the appellant approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During the hearing on 15 April 2009, the Bench observed that Prasad, the appellant had not been provided following information...
1. Certified copies of complaints received by the University since date of implementation
2. The process of selection of members of the University moderation Committees
3. The Names of Colleges/department etc. and the Courses, Specific papers/topics wherein the Internal Assessment marks have been moderated in the examinations held in the years 2006, 2007 & 2008 and the decision making process adopted for doing the same
4. Details of any committee(s) constituted for reviewing the internal assessment scheme
While allowing the appeal, the Bench directed the PIO to provide the information sought by Prasad before 15 May 2009.
However, the CIC received a letter dated 26 June 2009 from the appellant stating the information had not been provided to him by the PIO.
On 16 July 2009, the Bench held show-cause hearing in this matter for which MM Raheman and Manis Srivastava were present on behalf of deemed PIO Prof Pokhriyal. They stated that partial information had been provided to the appellant on 19 June 2009. They sought time of one month more to provide the information. The CIC rebuked the respondents for their nonchalant approach and scheduled the next hearing on 19 August 2009.
During the next hearing, Dr HC Pokhriyal, dean for exams, Jay Chanda, PIO and RP Singh, deputy registrar for results were present. They informed Mr Gandhi, the then CIC that most of the information has been provided to the appellant.
The discussions revealed that there was some lack of understandings on the part of the PIO about the nature of information to be given. This was coupled with poor record keeping at the public authority, the Bench observed.
Mr Gandhi said, "Some parts of the information are still to be provided and if the appellant receives the information satisfactorily he will give a letter to this effect before 5 September 2009 after which the CIC will take a final decision."
On 7 September 2009, Prasad gave a letter to the CIC acknowledging satisfactory information provided by the PIO. The Bench, however, said this proceeding has highlighted the need for certain proactive disclosures by the public authority.
Mr Gandhi then directed the PIO to ensure that the details of the Internal Assessment scheme be put up on the Universities' website in fulfilment of its Section 4 compliance. "This should be done before 30 October 2009 and a compliance report sent to the Commission before 5 November 2009," the Bench said.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC /SG/A/2009/000181/2745adjunct
Appeal No. CIC/ SG/A/2009/000181
Appellant : AN Prasad
Respondent : Deepak Vats
Dy. Registrar & PIO
University of Delhi New Delhi-110007
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