Do private schools come under RTI?: Analysis and Procedure

Do private schools come under RTI?In general, only public authorities come under the purview of RTI Act. Thus, the question arises that “do private schools come under RTI?” On various occasions, Central Information Commission and Courts have interpreted the definition of Public Authority to bring many organizations under purview of RTI Act. Public Authority is defined under section 2(h) of the RTI Act, which is produced below:

“2(h) “public authority” means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted,—

(a) by or under the Constitution;

(b) by any other law made by Parliament;

(c) by any other law made by State Legislature;

(d) by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any—

(i) body owned, controlled or substantially financed;

(ii) non‑Government Organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government;”

As per this section it appears on face that private unaided schools may not come under RTI. However, if we go into meaning of right to information, which is defined under section 2(j) as “right to information” means the right to information accessible under this Act which is held by or under the control of any public authority…”, then it is clear that the information which is either accessible by or under the control of public authority comes under RTI Act. It doesn’t matter whether information is with public or private authorities. Thus, whether private unaided schools may or may not come under purview of the RTI Act will depend on the type of information asked. If public authorities can access such information under any provision of the law, such information is covered by the RTI Act and is subject to disclosure. The condition is the public authority (in case of schools, the Directorate of Education or Education Board or any other authority that governs and regulates) should be entitled to ask such information under law from private unaided schools. This covers not only the information already available with a public authority about private unaided schools, but also covers information that can be legally accessed by the public authority from such schools.

In a major boost to transparency in school admissions, and hearing the appeal on do private schools come under RTI, the Central Information Commission (CIC) passed an order asking the private schools in Delhi to divulge information under RTI Act. Subsequently, the federation of schools filed a petition before Hon’ble Delhi High Court seeking to quash the order of the CIC. After hearing the petition, the Delhi High Court upheld the order of the CIC that the private unaided schools will be covered under the RTI Act. The court ordered the schools to display information on total number of seats, total vacancies in classes, total seats under Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) quota, total applications received under the quota and other information relating to EWS quota applications, and asked the schools to update the information on weekly basis. Passing the judgment, the court also directed the education director to ensure compliance of the court’s directions. However, the court ruled that certain information such as budget estimates of receipts, payments of the ensuing year, final accounts, and the statement showing disbursement of salaries are exempt from disclosure under the RTI Act.

Recently, to ensure transparency in the functioning of private educational institutions, the government has decided to bring all private colleges, senior secondary and high schools under the RTI Act, 2005 with immediate effect. However, the Act will not cover medical and nursing colleges and schools affiliated to the CBSE and the ICSE.

This analysis clears the doubt that do private schools come under RTI?. Private schools will remain under purview of RTI Act and their details will be accessible to public.

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7 comments

  • Narendra bajpai

    Sir meri mother ko railway family pension post office ke dwara milti h . Unka P.P.O kahi kho gaya h .hamne PPO ki copy ke liye post office me RTI Dali Thi .post office ne reply me bataya ki PPO ki copy unke office me nahi h aap railway se PPO ki copy pa sakte h .mujhe railway ka medical card banwane ke liye PPO ki jarrorat h. Mujhe Ab Kya Karna chahiy .

    • Hi Narendra,
      Aap Railway ke concerned department me contact karke PPO ki copy le sakte hain. RTI dalne ki jaroorat nahi hai. Aap Railway me ek aawedan dal ke PPO ki copy mangiye. Yadi wo dene se mana karenge to RTI Application dal ke apne aawedan ka status puchhiyega.

      • Narendra bajpai

        Kya sir Mai post office me PPO ke bare me RTI ke jawab se sahmat na hote hue first appeel dal kar apni file inspection ke liye likh sakta hu. Ya mujhe file inspection ke liye fresh RTI Dalni hogi. Sir file inspection ke liye First appeel hindi format bataya. Please guide me.

        • Hi Narendra,
          First Appeal ya Second Appeal ke dwara aap naya suchna nahi mang sakte hain. Mera matlab ye hai ki yadi aap RTI Application me Inspection ke bare me nahi puchhe the to Appeal me bhi nahi puchh sakte. Appellate Authority PIO ko kewal RTI Application me puchhe hue suchna dene ke liye direct kar sakta hai. Isliye, yadi aap Inspection chahte hain to aapko fresh RTI Application dalna hoga.

  • Sriharsha M

    RTE enforces every school to give certain information to the local authorities, which are government bodies. As per RTE we can file grievance to the authority and after 3 months we can approach NCPCR also(similar to 2nd appeal in RTI). Using grievance under RTE along with RTI to local authority will increase the chances of getting information.

  • Gunwant Patil

    If any private college or school is occupied the govt land on lease, these schools or cillege is come in rti act?

    • Hi Gunwant,
      If any school has occupied the govt land on lease, then it must be paying rent for that to govt. If govt. has subsidised the rent then it may come under RTI. Otherwise, it will not come under RTI.

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