Tumkur University flouts RTI Act
Monday August 6 2007 12:43 IST
BELGAUM: If a clerk in a government department is not aware of the Right to Information Act (RTIA), that is understandable.
But if a university registrar turns a blind eye to one of the most discussed and popular laws of the country, the government should rethink its training policy.
The Act requires all public authorities to publish certain information relating to the functioning of the institution, on its own. One need not have to apply to get this information.
R Vishwanathan of Tumkur submitted an application under the RTIA to the registrar, who is also the public information officer of Tumkur University, asking whether this information had been published and whether at any instance, a staff member had been appointed due to external influence. But the registrar failed miserably to deal with the application and violated the RTIA in all respects.
Vishwanathan had taken due care to draft the application in the prescribed format and to enclose a postal order towards the application fee. But the University refused to accept the postal order and compelled the applicant to remit the fee in cash. Here again, the University did not provide an official receipt. The officials merely wrote a sentence about having recieved Rs 10 on the copy of the application.
Though the registrar replied to the application within 30 days, as required under the RTIA, he mishandled the application. Firstly, he said that the application was not in the prescribed format. Though the Karnataka Government has prescribed a format it is not mandatory to use it.
Secondly the registrar said that since the applicant had not mentioned the purpose for which the information was sought, the application was rejected. Here again, the registrar failed to recognise the provisions of the RTIA, which say that the applicants need not disclose the purpose.
Curiously, the registrar replied that the information sought by the applicant was exempt under Section 8 of the RTIA. Further, he said that information under Section 4 (1) of the RTIA did not relate to the applicant. Regarding the information sought about external influences on the appointment of employees, the registrar said that it was unwarranted and hence rejected the application.This may also mean that there are influential persons behind appointments made by the Tumkur University.
Tumkur University flouts RTI Act - Newindpress.com