Panel: homeopathic college under purview of RTI Act

‘The institution is a public authority availing aid from government’

The State Information Commission has ruled that Dr. Padiyar Memorial Homeopathic Medical College at Chottanikkara comes under the purview of the RTI Act as the college is a public authority availing substantial aid from the government.

The commission observed that as the college received substantial support directly and indirectly by way of funds from the government, the citizenry had the right to information about the institution.

The commission further said that even non-governmental organisations which received funds from the government were treated as public authority amenable to the jurisdiction of the RTI Act. Besides, the High Court had held that an aided private college was a body substantially financed directly or indirectly by the State government.

Disposing of an appeal field against the order of the State Public Information Officer (SPIO) of the homeopathic college, the court also pointed out that under the direct payment system, teachers and staff of all aided colleges were paid by the government directly. Even the retirement benefits of employees are met from the State exchequer. Besides, it was seen that the Centre had been extending funds to the college. Thus, it is a public authority defined under Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.

The commission pointed out that public money was given as aid to the college which was subject to rules and regulations framed by affiliating universities. In fact, affiliated universities come under the definition of public authority.

The SPIO of the college while refusing to provide information sought by some information seekers had contended that though the government was paying salaries and allowances of teaching and non-teaching staff under the direct payment system, the college was not substantially controlled or financed by the government.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 5:01:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/panel-homeopathic-college-under-purview-of-rti-act/article27154638.ece

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