Whenever an educational institution has failed in providing its students with essential amenities such as infrastructure, healthcare, and water, students have time and again raised difficult questions about the allocation of funds, and demanded more transparency from the administration.
At Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, where I study, efforts have been made to create a democratic environment through regular meetings with the staff and administration. There are general body meetings with the student body, wherein, students get a platform to raise their questions, put forward their concerns and complaints regarding the functioning of the college. However, not many are aware of RTI as an option, as a recourse that students can opt for when they’re seeking answers from the college administration.
It’s a good idea to file an RTI when you want information on specific matters. For instance, finding out the exact amount of funds allocated to each department – a question that the faculty might not entertain or you may be told that the information requested is ‘confidential’.
The Right To Information is a right every Indian citizen has that they can use to request information related to the functioning of any public authority in the country.
There are three ways to file an RTI:
1. Filing an RTI online
2. Sending the RTI application via post to the concerned department
3. Submitting the RTI to the concerned Public Information Officer
You should receive a response to your RTI request within 30 days of filing it. The fee for an RTI application is just Rs. 10.
I had asked Mr Sanjay Mishra, Vice Principal, LSR, the procedure to file an RTI in the college, and he said that it was the same in colleges as at any other government organisation. You can fill the required application form, submit it and post its submission; the concerned Public Information Officer will be handed over the RTI request.
The PIO will then go through the application and will communicate to you whether your request was accepted or rejected. In the latter case, they will have to mention the reason for rejecting it. If the application is accepted, they will look into the RTI and find answers to the questions asked, and they will get back to you with answers within the stipulated time frame. If the PIO does not respond to your application in 48 hours, it will be considered as rejected.
Students have the right to know how their college functions and they should be encouraged to file an RTI if the need arises. The administration and the students’ union should inform the student body about why the RTI is important and the procedure to file one.