As reported by Amit Gupta in telegraphindia.com on 14 June 2008:
The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Frontpage | RTI rap to cost varsity 4 lakh
RTI rap to cost varsity 4 lakh
- PIO fined Rs 40,000 for withholding information
Ranchi, July 13: The state information commission has slapped a fine of Rs 40,000 on Ranchi University and its former public information officer for withholding information on RTI applications filed by two professors alleging they had been superseded in promotions.
In his order, state information commissioner Gangotri Kujur also ruled that the professors, Amitabh Hore and P.N. Pandey, who sought information from the varsity on the method it adopted to determine seniority, be compensated by paying Rs 2 lakh each.
While the compensation amount was to be borne by RU, Kujur said the fine of Rs 40,000 was to be deducted from the salary of the former PIO, Sudhandhu Kumar Verma.
Kujur told The Telegraph the university was refusing to answer the queries on frivolous grounds and the PIO was dilly-dallying. “After being denied information by RU’s information cell, Hore approached us in August 2007. We gave RU nine chances to provide the information. But we cannot wait indefinitely. So we took the punitive action,” she said.
The issue too was serious, Kujur said. “Given that RU has a bad name… seniority is being decided on fake and frivolous grounds by top university officials from time to time for decades in lieu of nepotism and financial kick-backs,” she added.
At the centre of the professors’ query was the 2005 promotion of K.N. Dubey as head of the postgraduate zoology department. This was challenged by the two, both in the same department, in 2006 alleging they had been unfairly superseded as they were senior to Dubey.
Before that, Pandey had approached Governor Syed Sibtey Razi’s office — the RU chancellor — on September 29, 2005. Later, he moved the Jharkhand High Court even alleging that Dubey’s recruitment as teacher in 1973 was through unfair means. The court, however, referred the matter back to the chancellor.
Both Hore’s and Pandey’s querries to RU centred around whether the chancellor’s rules had been adopted to judge seniority — known as the substantive date of appointment as recommended by the state service commission.
They also sought to know how the name of a teacher was allegedly “interpolated in the list of teachers supposed to be appointed temporarily by the then vice-chancellor in 1973”.
RU teachers welcomed the information commission’s ruling in their favour. “Different standards were being adopted in promotion of teachers,” rued a senior professor demanding a thorough inquiry into the matter.
While Hore and Pandey may have got the information commissioner on their side, their dispute with the university was far from over. The chancellor’s office is yet to rule in the matter.