Thursday, February 09, 2017

DU in HC over fines imposed for rejecting RTI queries on PM Modi’s degree

Financial Express‎‎: New Delhi: Thursday, February 09, 2017.
The Delhi University (DU) today moved the Delhi High Court seeking setting aside of the CIC’s orders slapping fines amounting to Rs 50,000 on the varsity’s Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) for rejecting RTI applications seeking facts about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s graduation degree.
The plea came up for hearing before Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva, but it could not be taken up as the judge did not hold court today. The matter has now been listed for consideration on February 21.
The Central Information Commission (CIC) had on December 27 last year slapped fines of Rs 25,000 each on the then official on the two different applications.
The official had rejected both RTI applications filed by Delhi-based lawyer Mohammad Irsad and AAP leader Sanjay Singh, who had sought information about the Prime Minister’s graduation degree.
The varsity sought in the high court quashing and setting aside of the CIC’s December 27 last year decisions, terming them as “erroneous in law as they do not appreciate a settled legal position that incomplete, blank or wrongly addressed fee instruments cannot be accepted”.
DU, in its appeal filed through advocate Arun Bhardwaj, said that the “premise of the directions of the Information Commissioner is not tenable as the public authority is already implementing the RTI Act smoothly and its officers are appropriately trained to handle the implementation of the RTI Act in letter and spirit”. “The orders are liable to be set aside on this misplaced premises only,” the plea said.
The counsel for the RTI applicants, Anupam Srivastava has said that the Chief Information Commission had pulled up the then CPIO of the university and had said the rejection reminded him of the saying “penny wise, pound foolish”.
He said that the commission’s orders had come on pleas filed by Irsad and Singh whose RTI queries seeking information on Modi’s degree were rejected on the ground that the Indian Postal Order (IPO) was not marked in favour of the Registrar of the varsity. The RTI applicants had also sought information regarding one other student, the counsel said.