In a bizarre turn of events in Afroz Alam Sahil’s fight for student democracy at Jamia — Jamia’s Public Information Officer (PIO), Prof. Mini S. Thomas, has denied a formal request for information by Sahil, filed under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
In response to Sahil’s application, Jamia’s PIO, Prof. Thomas wrote in a letter (Link to a copy of the letter) that the applications were an attempt by the applicant to “harass” and “blackmail” university officials into submission by using the information requested against them.
She also states in the letter that the applicant has sought “voluminous” information and it is evident that the aim of the applicant is to “unnecessarily burden and tax” the personnel of the university.
Although the letter does not specify the questions — the answers to which can be used to harass and blackmail university officials — some of the questions listed in the application are the following:
1. Please provide details about the students who could not complete their respective degrees due to termination/discontinuation/Black Listed/Campus ban at Jamia Millia Islmia since 1995 to till date. Please provide their Name, Category, Degree, Year of termination/discontinuation.
2. How many CCTV Cameras are installed in Jamia Millia Islmia Campus. Please provide all expenditure details on this purpose.
3. How many days the Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia Mr. Najeeb Jung attend his office in New Delhi during his tenure? (Please provide date wise details)
Though the list of questions in the application are significantly long, Jamia’s PIO chose to reject the entire application by stating that any “indulgence” granted by her to the applicant, will only give impetus to the misuse of the law.
In an interview with Jamia Journal, Sahil said that in response to his request for information being denied, he will make an appeal to Jamia’s authorities to reconsider their decision, and will also file a complaint against Jamia with the Central Information Commission (CIC), the adjudicating governmental body in matters relating to the RTI Act. And if need be, he will also approach the court to demand his legal right.