GANDHINAGAR: For all you know, Bhavnagar University (BU) may soon want a patent on the methods of cheating used by its students in exams! As preposterous as it may sound,BU recently refused to give information sought under the Right to Information Act on copying methods used in exams, stating that it was a "trade secret and intellectual property."
Kishore Kantaria used the RTI Act because he wanted to find out how many copying cases occurred in the arts and commerce faculties of BU's examination department during exams held between March and April last year.
He also wanted to know what methods of cheating were used, whether students talked to each other, wrote on their clothes, or smuggled books into the exam centre.
However, BU's public information officer (PIO) denied the information citing Section 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act, which states that information can be denied if it relates to "commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which could harm the competitive position of a third party."
In other words,BU was afraid of harming the competitive position of those caught cheating. When Kantaria complained to the Gujarat Information Commission (GIC), BU's advocate argued that although BU had given other information pertaining to the query, it had not given details of modes of cheating as it was confidential.
BU officials called Kantaria's appeal an abuse of the process of law aimed at misusing RTI.
While asking BU to provide the information, GIC noted, "PIO has not specified whether the information concerns commercial confidence or intellectual property or how the information would harm the competitive position of a third party and who is the third party."
Gujarat chief information commissioner R N Das stated that the information demanded will only help BU in curbing the menace of cheating by chalking out an effective action plan against erring students. He added that instead of worrying about the process of law, BU should invite suggestions from the public to curb malpractice in exams.
BU guards cheating tips from RTI-Ahmedabad-Cities-NEWS-The Times of India
NAGPUR: The forest department has warned disciplinary action against N M Goswami, working president of the Forest Guards Union, Nagpur, for seeking information about proposed transfers of guards and their seniority list under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
Goswami, who had sought the information on February 27, was told by information officer L V Swami that it was not possible to provide the details under Section 3 of the RTI Act 2005.
Interestingly, in a similar case, forest guard Mustaq Ahmed was told in a letter dated April 23, that information can be provided under the same section of the Act.
As if the disappointment of not receiving the information was not enough for Goswami, another shock awaited him. Goswami, who works with the working plan department, was issued a show-cause notice by deputy conservator of forests (DCF) Naresh Zurmure on March 30, warning him of disciplinary action.
Zurmure has stated that there is no provision to give information to president and secretary of the employeesâ€™ union. â€œAs per rules, the DCF has all the rights to transfer guards. By seeking information about the transfers, you have flouted the law and tried to interfere in the process,â€ Zurmure wrote to Goswami in the notice, a copy of which is with TOI.
However, itâ€™s interesting to note that, at one point of time, when there is talk of proposed transfers, the DCFâ€™s letter states that there was complete transparency in the transfer process and 90 per cent of the guards have been offered their choice of postings. It is also interesting to note that Goswami has also been issued a show-cause notice by Zurmure on April 21, for being part of a delegation which went to meet forest minister Babanrao Pachpute during his visit to the city on April 19.
When contacted, Zurmure told TOI that Goswami sought information as an office-bearer of the union and there was no resolution of the unionâ€™s meeting. â€œThe main intention of Goswami was to stall transfers and hence we did not provide any information in the matter,â€ he added.
Forest guards union leader gets notice-Nagpur-Cities-The Times of India