Delhi varsity official fined for refusing info on PM’s degree

New Delhi:  Prof Sridhar Acharyulu, Central Information Commissioner, slapped a penalty of Rs 25,000 on an official of Delhi University for rejecting an RTI petition asking for the status of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s degree. The Commission has pulled up CPIO Meenakshi Sahay for blocking the information regarding PM’s educational qualification.

Prof Acharyulu was hearing a petition filed by a Delhi based lawyer Mohammad Irsad who complained that the Delhi University did not entertain his plea for information about Narendra Modi’s degree.

The reason cited by Sahay for rejecting the application was that the postal order attached to the application was not addressed to the Registrar of the University of Delhi. The Information Commissioner commented that after hearing the story of the petitioner that he had spent thousands of rupees for a postal order of Rs 10, the proverb, ‘penny wise pound foolish’ has to be rewritten as ‘rupee wise thousand foolish’. The Commissioner has recently ordered the public authority to recover Rs 25,000 from the salary payable to Sahay.

Meenakshi Sahay argued that she had no malice in rejecting the petition. She was only following the rules laid down by the university. The Commissioner said the fee was not important and that she did not respond to a number of letters regarding the petition. He described the CPIO’s attitude as pathetic. A simple request for information was dragged till a second appeal and a heap of files was built in the meanwhile.

Prof Acharyulu suggested that the university authorities may be provided with Chetan Bhagat’s book, ‘Five Point Someone: What Not To Do At IIT’ and the late Professor Sathe’s book, ‘Right To Know’ besides some more books on administrative law.  But the Commissioner did not specify who the ‘public authority’ is.

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