Mumbai, August 18 Is the Society For Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), operating out of IIT Bombay campus to provide a business vision to innovations, beyond the ambit of the Right To Information Act? Not quite.
In response to an RTI application by a Delhi IIT alumnus, Joy Manglani, the Central Information Commissioner ruled—this May—that SINE was a public authority and IIT, in the interest of transparency, should divulge all information sought by the applicant.

Manglani, an environmentalist and chief of the NGO, One Nature, had sought information on consultation jobs undertaken by the chemical engineering department and SINE, which is registered as a society. SINE uses IIT’s intellectual and infrastructure support and provides it to about 17 companies run by faculty members and students. IIT director is ex-officio chairman of SINE.

After initially failing to get the desired information, Manglani filed his first appeal. That too was ignored. He then appealed to the Central Information Commission (CIC), which ruled that SINE was indeed a public authority and that the information Manglani sought had to be provided.

In fact, information commissioner O P Kejriwal, also made a note of certain issues of irregularities in IIT Bombay that Manglani had raised. He said in case IIT did not comply with the commission’s orders, then Manglani would be free to approach it again and IIT would then have to bear his to and fro air fare.

Manglani said IIT had now parted with some information, but details on the consultancy jobs undertaken by the department and certain other issues haven’t been provided. “The information they have provided is not complete. I have submitted a list of missing documents,” he added.
IIT public information officer (PIO) Indu Saxena, however, maintained, “We have already provided about 2,000-odd pages. He has given a list seeking more documents. This is in the process of being collected from the departments concerned. The rest of the information will soon be provided.”

RTI rap for IIT Bombay, courtesy Delhi alumnus