The Right to Information (RTI) Act may have been conceived to bring about transparency and accountability in working, but at Delhi University (DU) it has evolved as a tool to achieve much more. in New Delhi, RTI applications are filed with the intention of settling personal scores and redressing grievances.
According to DU's Public Information Officer Deepak Vats, most of the RTI applications received by him are irrelevant in nature. "For students it has turned out to be the cheapest and fastest way of drawing the authority's attention towards personal problems usually relating to their degrees and marksheets. Staff members seek rectification of pay problems and ask for interpretation of rules through this channel. People rarely seek information for public interest," rued Vats.
People, at times, even end up making requests that border on being bizarre. Last year the Information Officer received an application to change the name of the University. "A gentleman from UP insisted in his RTI application that we name DU after his father who apparently was a freedom fighter," added Vats, who is also the Assistant Registrar of the Varsity.
The ease with which such applications can be filed is the reason why students and teachers resort to it so often. DU has already received a little over 700 applications since the beginning of this year.