Nine DU college principals fined for flouting RTI

New Delhi, Nov 28 ( Principals of nine Delhi University (DU) colleges have been fined Rs.5,000 each for not complying with the Right To Information (RTI) Act rule of placing information about their college in the public domain.

The Central Information Commission (CIC) acted against the principals for not following Section 4 of the RTI Act, which mandates suo moto disclosure by public institutions regarding budget, rules, expenditure and name of its Public Information Officer among other things.

The CIC moved following a complaint from Rajeev Lala.

The colleges whose principals have been fined are Sri Aurobindo College, Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Bharti College, Mata Sundari College for Women, Swami Shraddhanand College, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Ram Lal Anand College, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur College of Nursing and Amar Jyoti Rehabilitation and Research Centre. The DU has over 80 colleges.

The CIC has directed that the fine money be recovered from the principals’ salaries before Dec 10.

Lala in his complaint stated that he visited the website of these colleges and found they had not displayed the information as required by Section 4 of the RTI Act.

On June 7, Shailesh Gandhi, an information commissioner at the CIC, along with DU Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental had urged all colleges to ensure that they comply with Section 4 by Aug 15.

The commission sent reminders to the colleges warning that it would be forced to act if the order was not implemented.

The CIC held a hearing Nov 24 where it asked the college principals to appear with written submissions on “why penalty should not be imposed on them for refusing to meet their legal obligations under the act”.

Some promised to follow the requirement within three months and some within a day. Some principals expressed regret.

The commission said that even four years after the RTI Act was passed, legal requirements under it have still not been met by the colleges.

“In spite of repeated reminders the college does not appear to be willing to meet the Section 4 requirements of the act,” Gandhi noted in his order for each college. “The commission finds this as a fit case for penalty.”