New Delhi, Sept. 4: The University Grants Commission has violated India’s transparency law by denying complete information about deemed universities and their admission processes, the Central Information Commission has said.
The rebuke from the CIC — the watchdog of the Right to Information Act — came after a series of “careless” flip-flops by the UGC over its reply to an appeal by a Pune resident.
“It is astounding, but the UGC’s response to the RTI appeal smells of complete callousness,” an information commissioner told The Telegraph.
The appellant had asked for a list of deemed universities — colleges granted much of the academic freedom allowed to recognised universities — and the admission process each followed.
He also sought a list of measures the UGC was taking to regulate fee structure and admissions in such universities.
The UGC, which has been working with the human resource development ministry on a bill for regulating fees and admission in these deemed universities, however, kept silent on the initiative.
Far from listing any measure it was planning against colleges that charge exorbitant fees, the UGC did not even provide the appellant a complete list of deemed universities, CIC officials said.
All the information that had been sought, however, came tumbling out during a hearing at the CIC headquarters late last month.
The “clarifications should have reached the appellant much before the hearing”, the CIC said, calling the UGC’s conduct “suspicious”.
“The (information) commission advised the appellant to go through all the infor- mation the UGC has now provided and, in case he notices any specific lacunae in the reply, he can write to the UGC again,” a CIC source said.
The CIC has ruled that the UGC will have 10 days to reply to any further queries and clarifications sought by the appellant.