The RTI structure of Delhi University (DU) is fraught with various 'loopholes' and ironically there has been no Transparency Officer (TO) in its setup for several years.
DU recently made news when the Central Information Commission (CIC) imposed a penalty of Rs.25,000 on its Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) for rejecting an RTI application seeking Prime Minister's degree.
These shortfalls include lack of sufficient legal knowledge on the part of concerned officials of the transparency body. Further, no official has not been uploading quarterly returns to CIC on DU's website. Besides, no separate RTI training programmes are being held for its employees.
Notably, the CIC had directed all the public authorities to appoint a Transparency Officer (TO) as the institution is an administrative arrangement for promotion of transparency within the public authority. The students and RTI activist alleged that in the absence of TO, the efficiency of varsity's RTI structure is adversely affected.
The DU, in a reply to an RTI filed by activist Mohit Kumar Gupta, has provided that no one has been designated as TO, and the same has been repeatedly communicated in 'NO' every quarterly return to the CIC since year 2010.
"This clearly goes against the very purpose of transparency as the CIC itself has provided that the record management practice should be technologically driven and technology should be used for efficient and wide dissemination of information," said Mohit.
Students also alleged that RTI replies are still being sent in hard copies, although online replies in soft copies can be made available.
Dr Ajay Gupta , Director , DU Computer Centre (DUCC), who also acts as Nodal Officer of RTI-MIS (Management Information System) by the University and is responsible for uploading the content on the website said: "I am the Nodal officer and I forward the RTI queries to the CPIO, which physically sends the reply or sends it online is upto CPIO. If they ask me to upload I will upload.
Meenakshi Sahay,CPIO,refused to comment citing that she is not authorised to talk to media. But she said she would look into the matter whether the quarterly returns are uploaded or not.