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RTI Act : Officials dilly-dally over providing information

THE RIGHT to Information Act-2005, which aims to contain corruption and hold governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the citizenry, is being flouted by government officials. The delay caused in providing information has put the future of several children at stake.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2006 00:36 IST

THE RIGHT to Information Act-2005, which aims to contain corruption and hold governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the citizenry, is being flouted by government officials. The delay caused in providing information has put the future of several children at stake.

Parents of medical students here are the latest victims who are infuriated over failure of the former bureaucrat-led State Information Commission to act against Directorate of Medical Education (DME) that has avoided producing the list of candidates who have been granted admission in private medical colleges last year.

Local medical experts Dr V K Jain and Dr Ratan Khandelwal, whose sons were denied admission in private medical colleges in September 2005 despite scoring merit in PMT, had asked DME for a copy of the list in November last year.

However, the Directorate avoided it on some or the other ground, though it receives the list of students admitted in medical colleges across the State within 15 days of admissions.

Running from pillar to post for past two months, a frustrated Dr Jain complained to State Medical Education Minister Ajay Vishnoi, Medical Education Principal Secretary S R Mohanty, DME Director Dr Bisaria Gupta and State Information Commissioner T N Shrivastava about not receiving the list.

Instead of ensuring that the information is delivered within time prescribed under the Act and for which he paid Rs 150, they preferred to pass the buck. Vishnoi asked him to fax the complaint; Mohanty said he would look into the matter, Shrivastava asked to be approached through proper channel, while Dr Bisaria kept assuring him he would receive the list soon.

“Where is the informed citizenry and transparency of information which the RTI Act guarantees? I must have spoken to Mr Mohanty and Dr Gupta more than 10 times, apart from other officials, but I have yet to receive the list.

When I pressed too hard, DME asked me to send Rs 50 more last week, which I subsequently dispatched,” Dr Jain told Hindustan Times.

While Shrivastava, Mohanty and Vishnoi were unavailable for comment, Dr Gupta said that the
nformation sought by Dr Khandelwal has already been sent and Dr Jain would receive the list soon. “I am taking personal interest to dispose of RTI Act matters.

At times, the applicants don’t express clearly what they want. This causes delays,” Dr Bisaria remarked over phone from Bhopal.

Vikas, son of Dr Jain, cleared PMT with 78 percentile and had applied for admission at People’s Medical College (Bhopal), Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (Indore) and Gardi Medical College (Ujjain). But he could not obtain admission at any of the institutions, as his father did not have Rs 25 lakh to offer as capitation fee. Vikas plans to re-appear for pre-medical tests this year.

Ironically, all three institutions refused to give the list to Dr Jain under RTI Act stating that they do not come under its ambit. “They are government-funded institutions and all such organisations are covered under the Act. But the concerned appellate authorities did not act when I complained about it to them,” Dr Jain said.

By invoking the RTI Act, the parents want to know on what grounds and percentile did the private colleges select other candidates under management quota, while their merit-holding children were denied access to medical education.

First Published: Jan 06, 2006 00:36 IST