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    Default Highest fine under RTI: School to pay Rs 2 lakh to harassed teachers


    Highest fine under RTI: School to pay Rs 2 lakh to harassed teachers
    As Reported by Krishnadas Rajagopal May 10, 2008, Express India

    New Delhi, May 9: The highest compensation under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has been imposed on a little-known government-aided secondary school in Delhi, which “defiantly” ignored repeated orders from the Directorate of Education to reinstate two of its teachers.

    In its ruling issued on April 28, the Central Information Commission (CIC) ordered S D Secondary School at Kirti Nagar here to pay Rs 2 lakh to a young couple, both staffers at the school, who were suspended after they lodged a police complaint of sexual harassment at workplace.

    “The compensation is unprecedented. The imposition of such a high amount as per RTI standards was prompted by the school’s defiance in not complying with the Directorate of Education’s repeated orders to take back the Bhartis,” Information Commissioner M M Ansari, who heard the case, told The Indian Express.

    Parul Bharti joined the school as a Physics laboratory assistant on compassionate grounds — her father died in harness as vice-principal. Her husband, Rajiv, worked as a Social Sciences teacher in the same school.
    Trouble started in May 1999, when Parul lodged the complaint against her laboratory-in-charge. They also moved the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), which directed the school to form a panel of “independent and non-interested members to give a true picture” of her complaint.
    Instead, the school suspended the couple and initiated disciplinary proceedings against them for “law and order problems”.

    “In one of the hearings, I had to sit for four hours at a stretch. I was nine months pregnant at the time,” recalls Parul.

    The school management even ignored a letter from the Directorate of Education directing it to revoke the suspension order against the couple and complete the disciplinary proceedings within three months. The Directorate followed up with an ultimatum that either the school take back Rajiv and Parul or face action including withdrawal of government recognition and financial support.

    Instead of complying, the school management “put pressure” on the Directorate to approve the termination of the services of the couple.

    “We would have got at least 150 memos each from the management. We must have been the only teachers who would have received so many memos. It was plain harassment. In August 2002, the management accused us of stealing school records. The police investigation later cleared us,” says Rajiv.

    “Later, we came to know of the RTI Act. We saw a notice at the Directorate of Education office, describing the benefits of filing an RTI application,” he adds.

    So last year, they filed an RTI petition seeking to know why the school was not taking them back despite an order from the Directorate. But the school took the stand that it did not come under the purview of the RTI Act though it was government-aided. Again, repeated reminders from the Bhartis were ignored.

    Hearing the matter in the appeal stage, the Commission termed the school’s position in the matter as “deplorable”.

    “The school refused to provide information by making a misleading statement that a government-aided institution is not covered under the RTI Act,” said Information Commissioner M M Ansari. “Even though the activities of the school, mainly promotion of education, are governmental in nature and it receives substantial government grants, it has taken the stand that RTI provisions do not apply for it. Such a view of the school is highly deplorable,” he added.

    Consequently, the Commission ordered the public information officer of the school to pay the maximum penalty of Rs 25,000 each to the Bhartis for maintaining that government-aided school do not come under the purview of the RTI Act.

    The CIC also summed up the disciplinary proceedings of the school as mere “eyewash” to do away with the services of the Bhartis. “The Bhartis have unnecessarily faced prolonged harassment. Their repeated requests for information were ignored. This shows a lack of accountability in the functioning of the government-aided school,” observed the Bench, ordering the school to pay Rs 1 lakh each to the couple for nurturing “malafide intentions”.

    Noting that the school had chosen to follow the “path of defiance” by not heeding the Directorate’s repeated orders to revoke the Bhartis’ suspension, the CIC ordered it to completely withdraw financial support and recognition given to the institution.
    “The school management has chosen a path of defiance. It would indeed create a chaotic situation if the management of the schools do not comply with orders passed by the Director of Education,” observed the Commission.

    Reacting to the CIC order, the chairman of the school, A K Sardana, said: “The charges against us are fabricated. They (Bhartis) have an assault case pending against them for the past two years. We will surely challenge the Commission’s ruling in the Delhi High Court.”

    IndianExpress.com :: Highest fine under RTI: School to pay Rs 2 lakh to harassed teachers



  2. #2
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    Default Re: Highest fine under RTI: School to pay Rs 2 lakh to harassed teachers


    This order of IC Shri Ansari can be downloaded here.

    http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/MA-28042008-12.pdf

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    Default Re: Highest fine under RTI: School to pay Rs 2 lakh to harassed teachers


    RTI should not be looked into as a tool of vendetta by scool management perticularly when the affected couple utilised it as a right.It is not understood how the couple shall work further in the school environment.There should be some external moderators /provisions to look into any unforseen situations faced if reinstated.In fact compensation should be more heavier with severing of services permanently better for couple to see some avenue elsewhere.The angle should have been looked into by CIC.Private organisations are not like Govt.organisation.IF boss is in furry ,it is oK part of job in Govt. job,but it is hurrible in pvt.job.

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