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Thanthiya flays officials for finding fault with RTI activists

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Visakhapatnam: State Information Commissioner Lam Thanthiya Kumari fumed at all those officials who were frequently pin-pointing the nature and scope...

Visakhapatnam: State Information Commissioner Lam Thanthiya Kumari fumed at all those officials who were frequently pin-pointing the nature and scope of Right To Information (RTI) Act and criticism against information sought by consumers, instead of honouring the Act as a ‘boon’ for citizens to get correct information.
The Commissioner was addressing a large gathering of students, teachers and RTI activists at a two-day UGC national workshop on ‘Awareness and interaction on RTI Act’ organised by the 153-year-old Mrs AVN College here on Thursday. In her inaugural address, she thundered why so many authorities without respecting the RTI Act on par with other Acts in force, often criticise the information sought by consumers as ‘most vague and age old.’
Stating that nobody questions the nature of other Acts which are in force except RTI Act, the Commissioner asked the authorities to first learn to respect the RTI Act adding that there is nothing wrong in seeking even the age old known facts. “We are honouring you the officials heading the departments by designating you as Appellate Authority and RTI PRO but you people never respect the Act which is wrong on your part,” she maintained.
Indirectly pointing out that the critical observation made by the Andhra University Registrar Prof. K Rama Mohana Rao that an applicant had asked him to provide information of how many students had passed so far since 1940 in all streams from Andhra University and how many had secured first class and second class, the Commissioner has sharply reacted and questioned what was wrong in asking such information. She said that a parent might have been interested in knowing the functioning of the university in terms of its success rate and there are about 1,100 cases kept pending only with regard to examination papers of various universities.
“There are so many cases with us that a student is shown failed with minimum marks in a subject but after revaluation, the same candidate secures more than 70 marks. How has it happened?” she asked.
When the Appellate authorities failed to provide information sought for the benefit of students there is every possibility of them becoming criminals, she cautioned. Without burdening the university Vice Chancellor or Registrar, the varsity can appoint a PRO exclusively to attend to the RTI work and many educational institutions have not even displayed boards of the Act which is mandatory, she added.
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