CHANDIGARH. March 11: In a complete volte face, Ms Puneet Bedi, the Principal of the MCM DAV College of Chandigarh has now replied to Prof. Avanindra Chopra on expenditure made on advertisements after denying information demanded under the RTI Act, 2005 for over six months.On this issue, in her earlier response, she had maintained, "We are not receiving any grants qua expenditure on Advertisement from Government/DPI/Public Authority. The expenditure is met by the college by its own resources", and had provided no further information on the issue.Even this response had come after the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed the writ petition filed by the DAV College Trust and Management Society, DAV Colleges and others against Director, Higher Education, Chandigarh Administration, Central Information Commission, N. Delhi, the applicant and others on the orders issued by CPIO, O/O Director, Higher Education, Chandigarh Administration and CIC. The DAV Colleges had contested the applicability of the RTI Act on them despite being 'public authorities' under the RTI Act. The CPIO, O/O Director, Higher Education, Chandigarh had issued a warning to the two DAV Colleges that if they failed to provide information under the RTI Act then their grant-in-aid would be stopped.
Mr. Avanindra Chopra went in appeal against the Princpal Bedi's response to Mrs. Raji P Shrivastva, Director, Higher Education and the first appellate authority under the RTI Act. She issued a show cause notice to Ms. Puneet Bedi as to why suitable action might not be taken against her under the Act for non-supply/inadequate supply of information. Prof. Avanindra Chopra said, "It is sad that the Principal tried to escape from providing information under one pretext or the other. Now, this reply to my letter dated September 27, 2007 has been given in wake of the fear of penalties that might be imposed on her for non-compliance under the Act which she still cannot escape because of the inordinate delay in providing information which still remains inadequate."
Prof. Uma Joshi, President of the MCM DAV College Teachers' Union, said, "Such evasive tactics would invite the wrath of the appellate authorities under the Act, and also contempt of court proceedings because of blatant disregard to the orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court."