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Use of RTI Act in Private Institutions




As education, which were earlier treated as service industry, has gradually converted into a lucrative commercial business. In this changing scenario, the college managements, politicians and policy makers were dominating the scene, which lead to the downward trend in the quality of education in India. Now, thankfully, due to Right to Information Act, 2005, these politicians, college managements and policy makers have become answerable to the students and parents of these students at large.


However, there are a few questions related to two landmark orders, which states that all private colleges come under the purview of Right to Information Act, 2005.


One such order was given by Andhra Pradesh State Information Commissioner in a case between N. Subba Rao (President, Bapatla Engineering College Non-Teaching Staff Association) and the Principal, Bapatla Engineering College, Bapatla in Appeal No. 914/SIC-ASR/2006.

Excerpts of the order include:

“ The Commission is of the view that the stand taken by the Principal, Bapatla Engineering College, Bapatla appears to be wrong, which is against the definition of ‘information’, as defined u/s 2 (f) of the RTI Act, 2005 it is clear “information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a Public Authority.”

In the light of the above, the Bapatla Engineering College, Bapatla will come under the purview of the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005. ”


Another order relates to an article appeared in Times of India titled “Pvt Medical, Engg Colleges Under Purview of RTI Act” dated 27th Sep ’08, which clearly states that “Private medical and engineering non-aided colleges can no longer choose to hide information sought under the RTI act, 2005. In a landmark order, information commissioner for Nagpur and Amravati Vilas Patil has made it compulsory for all private engineering and medical colleges to reveal information under RTI to every applicant. These colleges had earlier refused to provide information on the pretext that they were beyond the purview of the Act.”


Now my questions include:


1) In view of the above orders are all the private colleges in India answerable and come under the purview of the RTI Act 2005?


2) Can private educational institutions (all schools and colleges in Andhra Pradesh) be called “public authority” under section 2 (h) a, b, c, and d of the RTI Act, 2005?


3) In view of the above cited section do NGOs, public societies, trusts, foundations and non-commercial companies also come under the purview of RTI Act, 2005?


I invite all the forum members to ponder over the above questions and provide suggestions, feedbacks and offer any solution on the subject.


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The order of the APSIC which you have cited is very vague.

What was the information asked ?

To whom was the RTI application addressed ?

What did the PIO reply ?

What was the First Appeal and its outcome ?


For deciding whether the Institution is a PA as defined in the RTI Act, please go strictly by the definition in Sec 2 .


Please also see this thread:



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