Special Correspondent

KANNUR: An apparent discrepancy in the responses of the State Information Commission (SIC) has raised questions about whether or not an individual in his/her capacity as an office-bearer of an organisation can seek information by invoking the Right to Information Act.

The discrepancy was found in two separate responses of the SIC on appeals filed by two rival staff unions in the Kannur University.

One of the unions has alleged discrimination on the part of the SIC after the commission dismissed the appeal on the ground that it had been filed by the appellant in his capacity as the office-bearer of his union.

In a letter dated July 10, the SIC secretary informed M. Ramachandran, general secretary, Kannur University Employees’ Union (KUEU), that action could not be taken on his appeal dated June 26 as it had been filed in his capacity as an office-bearer of the union.

The letter said that as per the RTI Act, right to information was available to citizens of the country.

According to KUEU office-bearers, this letter was at variance with the SIC’s earlier response admitting an appeal filed by Babu Chathoth, president, Kannur University Staff Organisation (KUSO) dated October 10, 2007.

In response to the appeal, the SIC had served notice on the university. They said that university authorities including the Vice-Chancellor had to appear before the SIC on the appeal filed by Mr. Chathoth.