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Indian Education Society not under RTI: Information panel

After ruling that the John Wilson Education Society is not a public authority, the state information commission (SIC), in yet another such order, has stated that the Indian Education Society, which runs several educational institutes, is not under RTI Act.The order dated November 30 was passed by state information commissioner (Brihanmumbai bench) Ajit Kumar Jain and state information commissioner (Konkan bench) Thanksy Thekkekara.The applicant, Vikram Karandikar, had sought information about pay scale of professors at IES Junior College, Bandra, from the IES. Via another application made separately to the college, he had sought the same details. Both said they are not public authorities.Arguing for the IES to be declared a public authority, Karandikar said the funds the IES receives from the government account for over 33% of its total income and 42% of its total expenditure. It received I-T exemption, he added and also said that the IES had given information about an aided school on the same premises but declined to give information about the college, which is not aided. The society was having a dual policy of coming under RTI, Karandikar claimed.Because the society was bound and regulated by rules of the education department and has to follow rules of the government to provide admission to students, including those from the backward classes, there were more reasons for it coming under the RTI, he said. Karandikar cited an order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on DAV College, wherein information pertaining to non-aided school on the same premises was directed to be given.He argued that the Thalapallam verdict was not applicable as it was not financed by the government. IES, however, put forth two court orders that were stayed and are at the same stage. It also said that the I-T exemption granted to it is because it’s an educational institute and that it has nothing to do with the finances given by the government.It cited the order of Vishya Degree College, wherein the Supreme Court stated that “if an institution has a separate existence of its own without any reference to the statute concerned but is merely government by the statutory provisions, it cannot be said to be a statutory body.”The commission, while taking into consideration various orders, observed that the society, besides having government land, also had its own, from where it runs both aided and unaided institutions. It then ruled that the IES cannot come under the RTI. When called, Karandikar said, “I have just done a plain reading of the order and will look at in detail after sometime.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>