The Delhi High Court has deferred hearing till May 3 next year a petition by Delhi University challenging the Central Information Commission’s order which directed the varsity to allow inspection of records of all students who had passed the BA exam in 1978, year when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also cleared it.
The high court had stayed the Commission’s order dated December 21, 2016 on January 23, 2017.
Justice Yashwant Varma, in his order passed on November 15, noted that no one appeared for DU and adjourned hearing in the matter.
“Consequently, let these matters be called again on 03.05.2023,” the court said.
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Besides DU’s challenge to the Central Information Commission (CIC) order, the court was also hearing other petitions which raised similar legal issues pertaining to disclosure of details of results of certain examinations.
The CIC order was passed on activist Neeraj’s application under the Right to Information Act, seeking details related to students who appeared in the Bachelor of Arts in 1978 in DU.
In its challenge to the CIC order, DU has contended that the order of the RTI authority is “arbitrary” and “untenable in law” as the information sought to be disclosed is “third party personal information”.
The DU said in its plea that “it was completely illegal for the CIC to direct the petitioner (DU) to disclose an information which is available to it in its fiduciary capacity, that too without rendering any finding pertaining to any pressing necessity or overwhelming public interest warranting disclosure of such information on account of overwhelming/larger public interest sought to be achieved through such disclosure.” DU has earlier told the court that the CIC order has “far-reaching adverse consequences for the petitioner and all universities in the country which hold degrees of crores of students in a fiduciary capacity”.
It has claimed the RTI Act has been reduced to a ”joke” with queries seeking records of all students who had passed the BA examination in 1978, including that of Prime Minister Modi.
The CIC, in its order, had asked DU to allow inspection while rejecting contention of its Central Public Information Officer that it was third party personal information, saying there was “neither merit, nor legality” in it.
It had directed the university “to facilitate inspection of relevant register where complete information about result of all students who passed in Bachelor of Arts in year 1978 along with roll number, names of the students, fathers’ name and marks obtained as available with the University and provide certified copy of the extract of relevant pages from the register, free of cost.”