CIC: The CVO, UGC needs to be looked into the alleged irregularities raised by the Appellant in the Janki Devi Memorial College (DU) and ensure redressal of the matter through proper mechanism keeping in mind equity and good conscience
Information sought and background of the case:
The Appellant filed an RTI application dated 05.02.2019 seeking information pertaining to a complaint dated 23.11.2017 addressed to the Chief Vigilance Officer, U.G.C., New Delhi regarding ‘misuse of office’ and irregularities in Janki Devi Memorial College (Delhi University) including inter-alia as follows-
“1. Have this complaint been marked for action to the concern department/section of U.G.C.
2. If yes when and to which all departments/sections.
3. On which date it was marked/send to the concern departments/sections.
4. Action taken by the concerned departments/sections.
5. Name the Officer with designation in U.G.C. Who has been investigating the matter?
6. Whether the Officer assigned submitted his/her report?
7. If yes, provide the copy of the report.
8. If no, the reason for delay in investigation and the action taken for delay in investigation, provide the copy of the action taken for delay in investigation.
9. How much time the concerned investigating department/section need for investigation?”
The CPIO replied to the appellant on 20.02.2019 stating as follows:-
“The UGC has already taken the action in the matter vide this office letter No. 18-3/2013(DC) Dated 28.06.2018 wherein it has called for the comments from the college, University of Delhi and Chairman, Governing Body of Janki Delhi Memorial College. In this connection, only the College has sent the reply to UGC vide letter no. 638 dated 26.07.2018. The UGC has already sent the copy of reply given by the college to the complainant vide letter no. 18.03.2018 dated 31.08.2018. Further UGC has also called for the clarification from the college in respect of appointment of Mrs. Deepti Chauhan and Sh. R. N. Vashist vide letter no. 18-3/2013(DC) dated 31.08.2018. No response has been received so far from the college.”
Being dissatisfied, the Appellant filed a First Appeal dated 04.04.2019. FAA’s order dated 27.05.2019 upheld the reply of CPIO.
Feeling aggrieved and dissatisfied, Appellant approached the Commission with the instant Second Appeal.
Relevant Facts emerging during Hearing:
The following were present:-
Appellant: Present through audio-conference.
Respondent: Dr. Shalini, Education Officer & CPIO present through audioconference.
The Appellant narrating the factual background of the case stated that she was one of the NTS (non-teaching staff) in Janki Devi Memorial College and in November, 2017 filed a complaint with the Chief Vigilance Officer, UGC against the college for the alleged irregularities and misuse of office committed by the staff of the college. She further stated that despite numerous reminders no fruitful response was received by her, therefore she sought the desired information through instant RTI Application. She argued that incomplete reply was received from the CPIO at the belated stage i.e after filing of First Appeal. She added that a copy of the investigation report and/or action taken by the CVO, UGC was not furnished by the CPIO till date.
The CPIO submitted that UGC having no locus standi to deal with the alleged issues of the concerned college, forwarded a copy of the averred complaint from the Appellant to the college for further line of action. She further submitted that in response to that, whatever reply was received from the college was duly provided to the Appellant in terms of RTI Act.
The Appellant vehemently contested that ignoring her prayer in the averred complaint for not revealing her identity to the college, UGC blindly transferred her complaint to Janki Devi College, which ultimately resulted in victimizing and harassing her at workplace. Also, her promotion was frustrated by the college.
In response to Appellant’s contention, the CPIO tendered her unconditional apology and explained that she did so by following the common extant practice of UGC in dealing with such averred complaints. CPIO also apprised the Commission that UGC is a funding authority, however the College affiliated with Universities are governed by the code of conduct and regulations framed by their concerned Universities, therefore, the Appellant is advised to approach University of Delhi for redressal of her grievance.
Lastly, the Appellant prayed the Commission to direct the CPIO to conduct the investigation on her complaint and provide a copy of the report. In response to which the CPIO submitted that UGC has no authority to deal/investigate into the alleged matters, as explained earlier.
The Commission based upon a perusal of facts on records and after hearing submissions of both the parties at length observes that as far as mandate of RTI Act is concerned, the CPIO has provided appropriate reply along with available information and further clarifications during hearing to the Appellant in terms of the provisions of RTI Act.
Now, taking an empathetic view to the issue raised by the Appellant regarding alleged irregularities in the averred College, the Commission is of the considered view that the complaint addressed to the CVO, UGC needs to be looked into by UGC in the larger public interest and therefore , a copy of this order is marked to the Chairman, UGC to look into the grievance of the Appellant and ensure redressal of the matter through proper mechanism keeping in mind equity and good conscience without hampering the interest of innocents.
Also, the Appellant is advised to approach the Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi through proper channel for redressal of her grievance.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Aradhna Gupta v. University Grants Commission in File No: CIC/UGCOM/A/2019/141954, Date of Decision: 31/05/2021