THE DELHI High Court on Monday stayed the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) order issued on December 21, allowing an RTI activist to “inspect” records of results of all students who had passed the Bachelor of Arts (BA) examination in Delhi University in 1978. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to have graduated from DU in 1978. The bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva took note of DU’s submissions and observed that information regarding “personal information of third parties” cannot be given out under RTI Act. The bench also issued a notice to RTI activist Neeraj Kumar, and will now hear the matter in April.
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On December 27, Gujarat High Court had also issued a stay on the CIC order based on a similar plea by Gujarat University.
Delhi HC’s stay order was passed after Delhi University filed a plea challenging the CIC order, on grounds that the order was “arbitrary and capricious (and) is also untenable in law”. The university, represented by Additional Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta, contended that inspection of the records cannot be allowed, as details of roll number, father’s name and marks obtained is “personal information” that cannot be released to a third party.
Mehta also told the court that “universities hold the subject information in fiduciary capacity and as such the same is an excepted information under Section 8(e) and (j) of RTI Act”.
The ASG also informed the court, “If the illegal direction issued by the respondent is not set aside, the petitioner would be flooded with similar applications, defeating the very object and purpose of the Act.”
The university alleged that the CIC order “seemed to be based on extraneous considerations”. DU’s plea has also alleged that the CIC had passed the order on Neeraj Kumar’s plea without giving an opportunity for hearing DU during the second appeal proceedings.
Kumar had filed an RTI application to DU seeking “complete information about result of all students who passed in Bachelor of Arts in year 1978.” On December 21, CIC Shridhar Acharyulu had directed DU to allow the petitioners to inspect the records and take copies of relevant extracts.