The Central Information Commission on Tuesday directed the Central Board of Secondary Examination to allow inspection of class 10 and 12 school records of Union minister Smriti Irani, rejecting CBSE’s contention that it constituted “personal information”.
The office of Union minister of textiles and the Holy Child Auxilium School, Delhi, from where she claimed to have passed out, have also been directed by the commission to provide the roll number or reference number of Smriti Zubin Irani to CBSE, Ajmer, which possesses the records for the years 1991 and 1993 “to facilitate search from huge records which is yet to be digitised.”
The commission rejected the argument that the information was “personal information” and thus cannot be disclosed.
“The commission directs the respondent authority, the CBSE, to facilitate inspection of relevant records and provide certified copies of documents selected by the appellant free of cost, except personal details in admit card and mark sheet, within 60 days from the date of receipt of this order,” Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said in his order.
Acharyulu was recently divested of the charge of HRD ministry but retained CBSE by chief information commission RK Mathur barely few days after he ordered inspection of BA records of Delhi University pertaining to 1978, the year in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi passed out.
Chief information commissioner is the administrative head of the Central Information Commission having powers to allocate or reallocate work.
The change comes within two days of Acharyulu’s order directing inspection of 1978 records becoming public.
On January 8, it was reported that Acharyulu had directed the Delhi University to allow inspection of records of students who had passed BA course in 1978, the year in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to the University, had also cleared the examination.
In his order, dated December 21, on the plea of one Neeraj who had sought to know from the University the total number of students who appeared for Bachelor of Arts examination in 1978, their names and those of their fathers, roll numbers and marks obtained.
Denying the information, the Central Public Information Officer of the University had said the information requested was “personal information of the students concerned, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest”.
Acharyulu, however, said, “With regard to question whether disclosure of such identification related information causes invasion of privacy, or is that unwarranted invasion of privacy, the PIO has not put forward any evidence or explained possibility to show that disclosure of degree related information infringes the privacy or causes unwarranted invasion of privacy”.
“If the degree related information sought is about a celebrity or an ordinary man, the access to information has to be provided by the public authority. The PIO did not come up with any basis for considering the degree related information of the students as third party information, except claiming so,” he had said.
Observing that the CPIO should have applied her mind before denying information, Acharyulu said the Commission found neither merit nor legality in the contention of the University that the degree related information about students was third party information.