Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Jolt to sr NU official, as HC lifts status quo on providing his information under RTI

Times of India: Nagpur: Wednesday, June 27, 2018.
In a jolt to Nagpur University’s deputy registrar Anil Hirekhan, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court lifted its interim status quo on his plea opposing grant of information to his bête noire Sunil Mishra under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
“It’s informed that NU is resupplying the documents as per this court’s order of June 20. The petitioner can’t now be compelled to supply the documents. In this situation, we don’t find any reason to continue the interim order. Order of status quo stands vacated,” a division bench comprising justices Ravi Deshpande and Murlidhar Giratkar held.
It was Mishra who claimed that Hirekhan had submitted forged documents, including an experience certificate of working with a private firm, which never existed. He had accordingly complained to NU administration and joint director for higher education in 2010, but no cognisance was taken.
He then sought information under RTI Act from then registrar Ashok Gomashe regarding Hirekhan’s documents submitted in NU prior to joining the job. Though latter agreed to it, he was barred by NU top bosses. Mishra then filed an appeal with the State Information Commission (SIC), which asked NU to provide his required information within 15 days. When NU failed to comply with SIC’s orders, it imposed a fine on NU officials and asked them to provide the information, which Hirekhan had challenged in the HC.
The then division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Swapna Joshi had granted the status quo on SIC’s orders on January 9 last year. NU informed that it had already provided required information to Mishra, which he denied.
On June 20, the HC directed NU to again provide information sought by Mishra under the RTI Act, which NU agreed, after which the status quo was lifted.
“Petitioner’s counsel submits that he should be heard on the question of continuation of status quo. We don’t find any reason to hear him, in view of the aforesaid order. If he’s aggrieved, he has his own remedy to challenge the same. So far as payment of penalty is concerned by the information officer, the same shall remain stayed during the pendency of petition,” the judges said.
(With inputs from Abhishek Pratap)