Skip to main content

Gujarat govt body seeks private educational institute nod for providing information on free hike under RTI

By Pankti Jog*
In a surprise reply, the Fee Regulatory Committee (FRC), Government of Gujarat, has refused any information to a right to information (RTI) application filed by one Vinodrai Parmar, an ex-employee of a self-financed institute (SFI) of Vasad, Gujarat, regarding the SFI's fee hike proposal, its expenses and budget.
Parmar says, he was “shocked” when he received a three line reply from the public information officer (PIO), FRC, that the information cannot furnished because the SFI concerned has asked “not to disclose it.”
“These private educational institutes are taking huge sum as fees, yet the staff engaged by them are not paid properly. When we wish to seek information of their expenses, the FRC asks for permission from the SFI, which is denied for obvious reason”, says Parmar.
Parmar says, the SFI where he worked is registered as a charitable society, and submits its accounts to Charity Commissioner every year.
“It works for public cause. How can the FRC classify the SFI's expenses and budget as secret? In fact, it should be directly covered under the RTI, in the same way as grant-in-aid educational institutes”, Parmar, who is fighting for his dues from the Valsad SFI, insists.
SFIs have to submit their proposal on fee amount they wish to collect from their students to the state-sponsored FRC, which is supposed to look into the rationale for the proposed fee, details of the courses run, along with the expenditure done by them over the previous five years. They also have to submit the proposed budget for the next year to justify their demand.
The RTI reply
After analysing the proposal, the FRC either decides on whether to allow permission for fee hike. Notably, most SFIs in Gujarat demand huge fees for academic courses, and in return they claim of giving best quality of education and facilities. Yet, little is known in public domain about their functioning.
“Information regarding expenses and budgets of SFIs is not a third party information in the first place. Secondly, the PIO is not supposed to seek permission from any third party, but has to just seek opinion and then give decision with reasons why the information cannot be disclosed”, Harinesh Pandya, an RTI expert, says.
“In this case, the PIO of the FRC seems to be working at the mercy of the SFI, protecting the latter's interests, and this is a complete violation of the Law”, he adds.
In fact, says Pandya, “The information sought by Parmar falls into the proactive disclosure provision. Once decision of allowing fee hike is taken, the entire proposal, annexures, discussion held by FRC on the proposal and the final decision should be uploaded on the website.”
“This is mandatory as per section 4(1) b of the RTI Act. FRC in this case is completely misinterpreting the law. Here, the PIO, after 11 years of enactment of the law, is not aware of the basic provisions of RTI, which is unacceptable”, he adds.
Meanwhile, Parmar has filed an appeal with the First Applet Authority, demanding disclosure of information he had sought from the FRC.
---
*With Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel, Ahmedabad

Comments

TRENDING

JP advised RSS to give up Hindu Rashtra, disband itself: Ex-IAS officer tells Modi

Counterview Desk
Major MG Devasahayam IAS (Retd), chairman, People-First, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Jayprakash Narain’s (JP’s) death anniversary (October 11) has wondered whether he remembers “a patriot called Jayaprakash Narayan”. Recalling what JP thought on issues such as communalism, freedom, democracy, Hindutva etc., Devasahayam says, Modi has been been doing “the very opposite of the principles and values for which JP lived and died.”

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

UP chief secretary, DGP have 'surrendered' to political diktat: 92 retired IAS, IPS officials

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, 92 retired IAS, IFS and IPS bureaucrats, commenting on “blatant violations of the rule law” following the Hathras incident, have blamed that the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police for abjectly failing to exercise control over a “highly compromised” administration the state.

Hathras reflects Manu's mindset dominates: 'Women are false, it's in their nature to seduce'

By Parijat Ghosh, Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
The woman died and then we woke up to protest. She was alive for two weeks after the heinous incident. Many of us even didn’t notice what had happened at Hathras, how she fought during the next 15 days. Those who noticed, many of them were not sure what actually had happened. So much so, we as a nation were more busy in finding out who among the Bollywood actresses were taking drugs, who smoked weed, who had ‘inappropriate’ or more than one relationship, what kind of private conversations they had in their chat boxes and what not!

Gujarat literati flutter: State Akademi autonomy curb a Sahitya Parishad poll issue?

By Dankesh Oza*
The 115-year-old Gujarati Sahitya Parishad is in election mode. More than 3,000 life members of the Parishad are set to elect its 52nd president and 40 plus central working committee (CWC) members, which in turn will elect its executive and two vice presidents, six secretaries and a treasurer for the coming three years (from 2021 to 2023).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Atrocities against Dalits: Why don't MPs, MLAs from the community ever speak up?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
In Gujarat, a young Dalit activist lawyer Devji Maheshwari, belonging to the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMSCEF) was killed in Surat, allegedly by a goon who was warning him against his Facebook posts not to speak up against Brahmanism. Facts have come to light suggesting there are other issues also which led to the murder, mostly related to land disputes, many a time ignored by activists.

Degrading conditions amidst Covid-19: Toxic ship at Alang, Gujarat, 'endangers' migrants

Counterview Desk
Evironmental activist Dr Gopal Krishna, who edits the ToxicsWatch journal, in an open letter to the chairman, Ship Breaking Scrap Committee, Union Ministry of Shipping, with copies to the joint secretary, Union Ministry of Shipping and other Government of India ministries* has said that there exists “threat to Indian maritime environment and security from viral diseases like Covid-19 from ballast water and toxic substances.”

Delhi riots: Even British didn't accuse Bhagat Singh of reading Lenin, Jack London

By Vikash Narain Rai*
After the #BlackLifeMatters movement seriously tested the credibility of police across America, the Houston police chief Art Acevado talked of ending “lawful but awful” policing. No comparison, but in India, a citizens’ committee comprising former top judges and bureaucrats is now set to inquire into the role of the state machinery and media in handling the February 2020 Delhi violence, which followed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), “as the investigation by the Delhi Police has evoked extensive critical commentary in recent times.”