Do private schools come under the ambit of Right to Information Act? Is there a provision for filing a civil or criminal suit against a public office if it fails to furnish information to a petitioner?
Taking a cue from the 16 citizen vigilantes who were felicitated by Jharkhand RTI Forum last Monday for using the sunshine act to expose irregularities and ensure transparency, residents of Bokaro on Sunday lobbed questions at state information commissioner Prabodh Ranjan Dash to demand answers that can usher in change.
The occasion was a seminar on the RTI Act organised by and at Rotary Club in Sector IV on Sunday.
Several issues related to the act were discussed while information commissioner Dash tried to explain the nitty-gritty of RTI to the audience.
Highlighting the need to generate awareness among the rural masses, Dash said that government offices at the block level still received very few RTI applications. He also emphasised the role of the media in this regard.
Answering more questions, Dash said: “The act has provisions under which a public relations officer of a government department can be fined up to Rs 25,000 if he refuses to reveal information on any topic, as sought by an RTI applicant. However, there is no provision for filing a criminal or civil case.”
The information commissioner added that private schools did not come under the ambit of RTI.
The seminar, which began at noon and concluded around 1.30pm, was attended by secretary of district legal services authority of Bokaro R.S. Upadhyay, chief of communications of Bokaro Steel Limited Sanjay Tewari and secretary of Rotary Club Mannu Srivastava.