Central Information Commission (CIC): Saroj Punhani, Information Commissioner addressed a matter with regard to the disclosure of the inspection reports of the law colleges in the public domain.
The appellant filed an RTI application seeking the following information:
- How frequently the inspection of colleges is done by BCI.
- Provide the list of colleges which are not found fit after inspection between 2016-20.
- Provide the list of colleges whose affiliations were cancelled by BCI between 2016-20.
- Provide the list of all the colleges and the members who inspected along with date and time.
Being dissatisfied with the delay in getting the information, the appellant filed a First Appeal. Further, FAA’s order upheld the reply of CPIO.
Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied, the appellant approached the Commission with an instant appeal.
Appellant contended that the as on the date of hearing the BCI website did not contain any updates and urged to the Bench that the decadent lack of transparency in the functioning of BCI and the absence of inspection reports of the law colleges in the public domain caused immense agony to the student community as they were unable to make an informed decision for taking admission to the various law colleges and cited instances with respect to a bunch of law colleges in Patna wherein the High Court had to intervene and issued directions to the BCI to conduct the inspection of the colleges.
Commission took exception to the disdainful conduct of the FAA and closed the hearing proceedings.
The Commission fund no infirmity in the reply of CPIO in as much as the appellant was provided with a factual reply while also being offered an inspection of the available and relevant records.
Further, the Commission expressed that the disclosure of the inspection reports of the law colleges in the public domain would benefit the student community at large and significantly reduce the burden of RTI Applications.
For the above-stated reason, the Commission directed the FAA to place the present order before their competent authority to ensure that action is expedited with respect to the up gradation of the BCI website while also incorporating the stipulations of the Commission in H.N. Pathak v. PIO, BCI, CIC/SA/C/2016/000164, 2-1-2017.
Coram directed the CPIO to reiterate the opportunity of inspection with respect to the information sought and facilitate the same on a mutually decided date and time. Additionally, the intimation of the date & time of the inspection shall be provided to the appellant telephonically and in writing by the CPIO.
Copy of documents, if any desired by the Appellant during the inspection shall be provided free of cost upto 25 pages and beyond this limit, prescribed fees may be charged as per RTI Rules, 2012 by the CPIO.
The above-said directions shall be complied within 15 days. [Prasoon Shekhar v. CPIO, BCI; 2022 SCC OnLine CIC 238; decided on 25-5-2022]