'Anti-RTI statement' by IGNOU info officer infuriates CIC
NEW DELHI: IGNOU's denial to disclose file notings under the Right to Information Act has brought the university's information officer under a severe attack from the Central Information Commission (CIC).
"Would this mean that the Public Information Officer (PIO) is not aware of the provisions of the RTI Act and so many decisions of the Commission allowing inspection of file notings?," Information Commissioner O P Kejariwal asked in a recent order.
The Commission was reacting to IGNOU's denial to open up certain file notings in respect to an RTI plea of Delhi resident Ramesh Kumar Pandita, on grounds that file notings were of "confidential nature" and inspection or seeking copies of the same were against the university's policy.
"The Commission regards this remark extremely seriously and warns the concerned official to be more careful in future, lest he invite the maximum penalty that the Commission can levy for such an anti-RTI statement," Kejariwal said.
Pandita, in his application filed on December 22 last year, had sought file notings pertaining to his earlier representation before IGNOU's vice-chancellor in connection with its 17th convocation.
On being denied the information within the stipulated time frame, Pandita moved an application before the CIC where the university contended that disclosure of file notings was not permitted as per its existing policy.