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Officials delay nursery admissions info, fined

Nursery admissions

The Central Information Commission (CIC) recently fined two PIOs of the Directorate of Education (DoE) for delay in providing information under Right to Education Act 2005 about nursery admission. Not only that, the CIC also said that the education minister’s assurances about monitoring the same and punishing violators have not fructified.

Last week, this paper had reported on how the DoE went soft on those violating criteria laid down for nursery admissions last year. In the first case, former deputy education officer (DEO) of Zone-XIII, Virender Kumar, was found fined Rs 14,000. Likewise, information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi found Anil Kumar, deemed PIO and DEO (Zone-XIII ), guilty and fined him Rs 9,500.

Taking cognizance of the appeal filed by RTI activist Mohit Goel, a resident of Model Town, the CIC observed that since no reasonable cause for delay in providing information was found, it was a fit case for imposing penalty on the officers. Goel has been seeking information on action taken on four schools based on nine complaints lodged with the DoE during nursery admissions in 2009-2010 .

Goel filed a separate RTI with the DoE headquarters in June 2010 to know the action taken on education minister Arvinder Singh Lovely’s statement in January 2010 regarding nursery admission. The minister had told the media that he had asked DoE to give a status report about schools violating nursery admission criteria. DoE did not provide any information despite the CIC instructing DoE in October 2010 to furnish the information by October 15, 2010.

“When I received no information even after October 15, I approached CIC, and in its hearing on January 4, 2011, CIC asked DoE to furnish information by January 20, 2011,” said Goel. In his order, Gandhi observed: “The appellant asked for information about pre-school admission. He states that the education minister had made certain commitments about monitoring these admissions and taking suitable action whenever schools were not adhering to the government’s policy.

He had filed the RTI application with the Directorate of Education (HQ). It appears from the response of DOE (HQ) that the announcement of the education minister has not actually been implemented. Citizens expect statements by ministers to be followed by the departments. Hence, the appellant was correct in seeking this information.”

Manash Pratim Gohain, The Times of India, January 16, 2011

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