Thursday, August 5, 2010

Private Schools come under RTI too, rules CIC

Private Schools come under RTI too, rules CIC

TNN, Aug 5, 2010, 02.00 am IST

NEW DELHI: Ruling that private educational institutions -- whether government funded or not -- could not be run on the whims and fancies of private bodies, the Central Information Commission recently said issues related to their management and regulation came under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.

A full bench of the CIC said in its order, "The issues relating to management and regulation of schools responsible for promotion of education are so important for development that it cannot be left at whims and caprices of private bodies, whether funded or not by the government."

The commission added that records should be made available to the state government's education department, in this case Delhi government's directorate of education, and in case the school fails to comply, proceedings to de-recognise it must be initiated.

The order came in response to an RTI query by a teacher Bindu Khanna asking for her service records from Pinnacle School, Panchsheel Enclave. Khanna had filed an RTI application with the education directorate seeking to know her service records. But despite orders of the directorate to provide the details, the school maintained that it was a private body and hence the Act was not applicable to it. The school cited sections of the law which exempt the disclosure of personal information.

The commission said various clauses of Delhi School Education Rules, 1973, say that "all records" of a private recognised school are open to inspection by any officer authorised by the director or the appropriate authority at any time. The records provided to education department by the schools can be accessed by an RTI applicant, it said.

"Information which a public authority is entitled to access, under any law, from private body, is `information' as defined under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act and has to be furnished," the Commission said in its order, rejecting the school's claims.

Quoting a High Court order in this regard, the bench said the term `third party' included not only the public authority but also any private body or person other than the citizen making request for the information.

The bench comprising information commissioners Shailesh Gandhi, Satyananda Mishra and M M Ansari held that orders passed by the education directorate directing the third party to provide complete information to the appellant were perfectly in compliance with the provisions of the Act.


For FULL Order click here:

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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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