MCC told to share details of admissions under RTI Act

The Tamil Nadu Information Commission has directed the Madras Christian College (MCC) to share complete information on student admissions sought by a petitioner under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

R. Prabhakaran of Kancheepuram district had moved the Commission stating that the college had refused to divulge details of applicants, admissions, community-wise selection, rank list, cut-off marks etc with regard to the BA (English Literature) course in the 2017-18 academic year.

Passing orders, State Information Commissioner R. Dakshinamurthy said the denial of information was not acceptable considering that the college was a government-aided institution.

In July 2017, the Public Information Officer/Principal of MCC had argued that the information sought was not in public interest. Besides, the rule of reservation was not applicable to the institution. Not satisfied with the reply, the petitioner filed the first appeal in August 2017 before the Joint Directorate of Collegiate Education, Chennai, the appellate authority.

The Joint Director too had argued that MCC was a minority institution and endorsed the principal’s stand.

Mr. Prabhakaran then moved the Information Commission in October 11, 2017, citing that in a GO issued in May that year the Department of Higher Education had laid down guidelines for admission in arts and science colleges. The guidelines, he said were applicable to MCC too.

College’s stand

Representing the MCC, Johanan Christian Prasanna, Associate Professor, insisted that the provisions of the RTI Act would not be applicable to the minority institution.

However, Mr. Dakshinamurthy held that the denial of information sought by the petitioner was not legally tenable. All the information sought by the petitioner could be provided as per law. The admissions made to all arts and science colleges should have been in accordance with the guidelines set by the government and details of such admissions had to be on record. The reply that the information sought was being denied on the ground that it had no public interest was not legally acceptable, the commission noted.

Referring to the provisions under Section 2(h) of the Act, the State Information Commissioner said that based on the statements of Mr. Prasanna, it appeared prima facie that the MCC was getting government funds either directly or indirectly. Hence, the college was a public authority bound to provide information sought under the Act.

Mr. Dakshinamurthy, in his July 2, 2018 order, directed the college to provide “correct” and “complete” information sought by the petitioner free of cost and send the compliance report within three months.

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