TNIC seeks explanation from the varsity

For more than a year, a student who completed M.A (Economics) from the Madurai Kamaraj University was not issued a course completion certificate and a provisional certificate by the varsity authorities despite finishing all formalities.

After repeated attempts to get the certificates failed, the student, Pawan Kumar, from Kaithal district in Haryana, filed a petition under the Right to Information Act, 2005, seeking copies of the course completion certificate and the provisional certificate. Not satisfied with the replies of the Public Information Officer (PIO)/Assistant Registrar and the First Appellate Authority, the petitioner filed an appeal to the Tamil Nadu Information Commission (TNIC).

While the contention of the PIO was that the certificates were not issued since the applicant had not paid the prescribed fee, the student said that he paid the fee through a Demand Draft (DD).

Though the DD was accepted by the authorities, the amount was not credited to the account of the University. This was not communicated to the petitioner despite his petitions under the RTI Act. When the appeal was taken up via telephonic inquiry, in view of the COVID-19 safety protocol, the PIO said he had sent a letter to the petitioner regarding the issue and asked him to send the credit details of the DD. “It is impossible for the petitioner to get the details because the said transaction was made from one bank to another bank. Hence, the letter sent to the petitioner, after one year of the RTI petition, by the Public Authority is irrelevant,” State Information Commissioner (SIC) S. Muthuraj said.

Directing the student to pay the fee once again to get his certificate immediately, the SIC said the Commission had the power to direct the University to award compensation to the petitioner under Section 19(8)(b) of the RTI Act, 2005, for the loss suffered by him in the process. He also directed the PIO of the Directorate of Distance Education, Madurai Kamaraj University, to send an explanation within 15 days as to why disciplinary action should not be recommended under Section 20(2) of the RTI Act, 2005, against him for not providing the information to the petitioner.

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