Information related to the pay scale of the staff of MESCO College of Pharmacy - CIC: Denial of the information by the CPIO (AICTE) citing the refusal of the concerned college to part with the information is grossly inappropriate; Inform the gross salary
Information sought and background of the case:
The Appellant filed an online RTI application dated 27.02.2019 seeking information as follows:
“Provide the copies of Affidavit submitted for approval and extension of approval by MESCO College of Pharmacy, Hyderabad regarding Pay scales for teaching staff and Payments as per labour law (Minimum Wages Act of State/Central Govt.) for Non-teaching Staff from the inception of college i.e. from 2003-04 to 2019-20.”
The CPIO informed the appellant on 30.04.2019 that:-
“…. the information sought by you in your online RTI application no. AICTE/R/2019/50544, dated: 27.02.2019, pertaining to MESCO College of Pharmacy, Hyderabad, the college has denied to provide the information. It is also informed that, you are provided with the full and final information available with PIO, AICTE, SCRO, Hyderabad.”
Being dissatisfied, the appellant filed a First Appeal dated 22.04.2019. FAA’s order dated 21.06.2019 upheld the CPIO reply.
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 video conference.
Respondent: Dr. Amit Salunkhe, Regional Officer & CPIO, AICTE (SCR) present through video conference along with J.M. Sharma, Consultant & Representative of CPIO, AICTE, New Delhi present through intra-video conference.
Dr. Amit Salunkhe, Regional Officer & CPIO, AICTE (SCR) submitted that the concerned college denied their consent to the disclosure of the information as the affidavits contains information related to their infrastructure and also salary details of the faculties and is therefore deemed as confidential information.
The Appellant stated that he has not sought for the details of infrastructure or the faculties; he only wants to know about the pay scales for the non-teaching staff.
The CPIO agreed to provide the information regarding the pay scales and urged that the details of the faculties and their pay scales is available on their website for the period of 2010 onwards and preceding that whatever information is available will be provided to the Appellant.
The Commission observes from a perusal of the facts on record that the square denial of the information by the CPIO citing the refusal of the concerned college to part with the information is grossly inappropriate as no exemption clause of Section 8 and/or 9 of the RTI Act has been invoked for the said denial. Moreover, the information sought for pertains to the pay scales of the employees of the college which should ordinarily be made available in the public domain by the concerned authorities.
Nonetheless, considering the limited request of the Appellant, the CPIO is directed to provide the available information as sought for in the instant RTI Application to him after redacting the names and personal particulars of the faculties and non-teaching staff, if any, as contained therein. In other words, whatever information related to the pay scale and gross salary of the faculties & non-teaching staff is contained in the averred affidavits should be provided to the Appellant. In doing so, the CPIO is directed to ascertain and ensure from their website that the information for the period starting 2010 is available therein and in which case, the specific website hyperlink will be intimated to the Appellant in the CPIO’s reply while incorporating the information related to the older years as referred to in the RTI Application.
The above said information should be provided free of cost to the Appellant within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order under due intimation to the Commission.
The appeal is disposed of accordingly.
Citation: Dr Javed Akhtar Ansari v. All India Council For Technical Education in File No : CIC/AICTE/A/2019/644119, Date of Decision: 01/04/2021