The Central Information Commission has expressed “severe displeasure” over the conduct of the then Central Public Information Officer, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, in not providing information on ‘Mission Mode Recruitment’ sought under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
Passing orders on an appeal moved by Pranav Jeevan. P over a delay of 111 days in IIT-M providing the information sought by him, Information Commissioner Heeralal Samariya issued notice, asking why action should not be taken against the CPIO, under Section 20 of the RTI Act, “for gross violation” of its provisions.
The CIC expressed severe displeasure over the CPIO not providing any reply to the RTI Act application within the stipulated time. Issuing the notice seeking a written explanation within a month, the CIC said that in case other persons were also responsible for the omission, the then CPIO could serve a copy of the order on them as well.
The case relates to the petition filed by Mr. Jeevan on January 23 last year seeking information on the number of vacancies floated by each department for ‘Mission Mode Recruitment’ in each category (Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes/Other Backward Classes/Economically Weaker Section) till January 23, 2022, the number of applications received, the number of the vacancies filled and the current composition of the faculty in each category.
On May 13, 2022, the CPIO replied, giving details of the advertisement and said the number of applications could not be provided immediately since the recruitment was under process (screening of applications, shortlisting of eligible candidates and fixing of interview dates).
The public authority added that owing to the COVID-19 pandemic IIT-M was functioning with a skeleton staff at that time. “As the reply involved collection of data from different academic departments in various categories, the time limit prescribed under the RTI Act could not be adhered to and the same may be condoned,” the official appealed.