The School Education Department has not replied to the Tamil Nadu Information Commission on its order bringing all private schools under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The commission had also directed all private schools to host, on their respective websites, the names of those in the management, administration, teaching and non-teaching faculty along with details of criminal antecedents, if any. Though the Public Information Officers in the Directorate of School Education and the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB) were told to file action taken reports on July 16, 2018, no communication was received by the commission on that date.

No information

When contacted, a senior official in the Department of School Education said that he had no information about any order of the Tamil Nadu Information Commission bringing private schools within the ambit of the RTI Act. However, officials in the commission said that a copy of the order was sent by SpeedPost more than a month ago.

A top SCRB official said that instructions were given District Crime Records Bureau officials across the State to share any data on criminal antecedents management or staff of private schools. “We have no problem in sharing information on crime data against individuals or institutions. SCRB has written to the Tamil Nadu Information Commission in this regard,” the official said.

Bound to disclose

State Information Commissioner S. Muthuraj while passing orders on an appeal by J. Mohammed Ali Siddiq, who challenged denial of information from a private school, said that all schools that had benefited by way of funds, grants or subsidies of the government either directly or indirectly should be construed as public authorities under the provisions of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.

“The public authorities are bound to disclose all information that are of public importance under Section 4 of the Right to Information Act,” he said.

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