Syndicate to decide Punjab’s right to verify info on PU website

  • Bhartesh Singh Thakur, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Sep 16, 2015 23:55 IST

Panjab University (PU) syndicate will now resolve the issue of whether to allow Punjab government officials for physical verification of information uploaded on the varsity’s website under the RTI Act, 2005.

So far, the varsity has maintained that it is an inter-state corporate body and is under the Centre as interpreted from the Panjab University Act, 1947.

The Issue

On July 6, deputy secretary of Directorate Administrative Reforms, RTI nodal cell of Punjab civil secretariat, wrote to PU for audit of its website from July 20 to July 24.

On a physical visit of a senior assistant level officer, PU was told that the Punjab is financing it therefore it has all the right to audit the information uploaded, under section 4 (b) of the RTI Act, by the PU.

But, the Punjab government official was informed that PU is an inter-state body corporate and vice-president is the chancellor of the varsity. Further, the RTI appeals against PU are also heard by the Central Information Commission, New Delhi. In such situation, permission of PU authority was necessary before auditing. It was also pointed out that a division bench of the State Information Commission, Punjab, Bhupinder Singh vs Public Information Officer of office of registrar, PU, has passed orders on June 10, 2010, that varsity is an inter-state body corporate subjected to directions issued by the Centre. Punjab and UT does not have any control over PU and cannot be construed to be “appropriate government” within meaning of section 2 (a) of the RTI Act.

PU to grant DA to teachers working beyond 60 years

After audit objection, PU would pass the agenda item of enhancement of dearness allowance (DA) and annual increment to all teachers continuing beyond the age of 60 as per the interim orders of the high court. The resident audit officer had advised for making a policy in this regard from syndicate and senate.

The V-C had allowed the increment and DA vide its order dated February 24,2015, but audit had put an objection on March 11. There are nine such teachers. The next date in the case before the high court is October 28.

Standard Operating process for mgmt of hostel funds

PU has prepared a Standard Operating Procedure for management of hostel funds, which will now come for approval on September 20 syndicate meeting.

As per the procedure, no expenditure shall be made by any warden unless the budget for the same has been sanctioned by the competent authority. All wardens shall submit the budget of hostels through DSW and vice-chancellor for onward submission to statutory bodies.

All the cases of procurement of goods and services, involving expenditure of more than `15,000 shall be processed through a committee, which shall ensure the compliance of all formalities.

The committee would comprise DSW, DSW (Women), four wardens nominated by the vice-chancellor, nominee of accounts and finance department and executive engineer or his nominee.

The appointment of contingent staff in hostels will be routed through establishment branch of PU.

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