The National Student’s Union of India (NSUI) held a protest march against the amendments made to the Right to Information Act (RTI) by the Government. Read on to know more. 

On 1st August 2019, the NSUI held a protest march in front of the Faculty of Arts, North Campus, showing its strong displeasure towards the move taken by the Government to make amends to the RTI Act. The members of the students’ political party marched from the Faculty of Arts to Kirori Mal College, all the while chanting slogans like “RTI Bachao, Desh Bacho

Neeraj Kundan, National President, NSUI said, “Today the RTI is one of the most important laws in the country, it directly affects the people. In 2017, when the BJP Government saw that the RTI could expose high government officials like Smriti Irani, and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they started trying to curb its power. The Government is now trying to reduce its autonomy and cage it. NSUI is going to hold protests all over the country until our rights are given back to us.”

Students and associations like The North East Students’ Society, Delhi University (NESSDU) turned up in large numbers to support the NSUI’s protest against the RTI amendments. They marched with bold banners and enthusiastic slogans. The presence of the Delhi Armed Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) showed how protests in the DU are feared to turn violent, but this was an extremely peaceful protest.

Surbhi Dwivedi, National General Secretary of NSUI and the RTI Team Convener emphasised on the importance of the RTI for the student community. She said, “The RTI is the most effective tool in student politics. It helps students to find discrepancies in the University. A strong RTI is our right.” Robin Chaudhary, National Secretary of NSUI, said that they were determined to fight for democracy and that if the Government did not heed to their demands, they would go on a hunger strike.

The RTI Act, 2015 is an Act of the Parliament of India “to provide for setting out the practical regime of right to information for citizens”. It has made the workings of the Government more transparent, helped to reduce corruption and has facilitated in the workings of this democracy. The RTI Commissioners used have fixed five-year tenure and their salaries were equal to certain posts in the Election Commission and the bureaucracy. The recent amendments made to the act by the BJP Government have changed this. According to the new amendments, the central government now has direct control over the Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners’ term of office and salaries. The changes made to the RTI are being seen by many as the Government trying to control it, and as a result of this many voices in objection to the RTI amendments are being raised all over the country.



Feature Image Credits: NSUI


Juhi Bhargava

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Himadrish Suwan, a second year student of Political Science, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, has been presented the RTI Awareness Award 2015 by the RTI Institute of India on 28th September, 2015 (International Right to Information Day), for his contribution in the field of RTI activism.

Himadrish has filed over a 100 RTI petitions. The very first petition he filed was to replace the old, outdated coaches of the Ranchi Rajdhani with safer Linke Hofmann Busch coaches that will not turn turtle in the event of a collision. The Indian Railways swung into action and replaced 16 of the old coaches with LHB ones. Himadrish has also addressed several other RTI petitions to the Delhi Police, Central Board of Secondary Education and the Prime Minister’s Office.

On what it feels like to be the youngest to be honoured with this award, he says that it is a matter of pride. “If you have your question ready, it takes only a few minutes to file an RTI online. I consider the RTI to be a tool for social change and the day to day problems prevailing in the society inspire me to work,” he says. He feels that, rather than wasting time on social media, time may be spent on such constructive work, keeping in mind the larger interest of the society.

Himadrish also writes for various dailies and magazines and is the National Convener and founder of Mission E-Safai, a contribution of DU students to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan initiative.


Abhinaya Harigovind

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The proposal of Delhi government for the reservation of 85% seats for the Delhi domicile students in all 12 colleges wholly funded by state government and other 16 colleges receiving 5% of its fund from Delhi government, has been rejected by the University of Delhi on the 16th of April 2014. This break has been unfolded by an RTI application filed by Abhishek Ranjan, RTI Activist who is an ex-student of the University on 3rd March. These colleges include Maharaja Agrasen College, Shaheed Rajguru College, Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies, Keshav Mahavidyalaya and Deen Dayal Upadhayay College.

Ranjan had appealed to the Prime Minister Office (PMO) directly for getting first hand information on the issue. On receiving his application, the PMO forwarded it to Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry. The University was then asked to provide answers to Ranjan’s letter no. F.No.63-4(3)/2014-CU-III, dated 14th March 2014.

“Being a law student, I wanted to know whether such reservation can be allowed in a Central University. I filed the RTI asking if such proposal can be accepted by any Central University, whether there has been any such proposal in DU and if yes, what decisions have been taken on the matter. According to me if this kind of reservation is allowed in DU now, then people will start asking for similar reservations in other universities like JNU. ” says Ranjan. He added that new colleges should be open, number of seats should be increased and even introduction of evening shifts in colleges can be there in order to solve the problem of admissions of the Delhi domicile students.

R.K. Verma, Principal Secretary of Department of IT had written to Dinesh Singh, Vice Chancellor of Delhi University on 25th February 2014, asking for reservations and mentioning that the students of Delhi have to go outside Delhi for pursuing higher studies because of lack of institutions in Delhi which could provide admission to all students passing their higher secondary exam from the schools of Delhi. On 27th March 2014, the Assistant Registrar (Academics) of Delhi University in his reply mentioned that the proposal submitted by the University for the reservation of seats can’t be accepted, Delhi University being a Central University.

Nandita Narain, the President of DUTA expresses her views on the matter, “We, at DUTA, totally agree with the decision of the University. Diversity from all over the country is one of the highlighting features of our university. The proposal by Sheila Dixit government was totally an unacceptable one on the grounds of Delhi University being a Central University and not a State University.”

For more information on the RTI application, HRD Ministry letter to DU and University’s reply to the RTI Activist, check out this link.



The Round Table Society of Kirori Mal College organized a seminar and workshop on ‘Right to Information (RTI) and its role and achievements’ on Thursday, 20th February in the college seminar room. The event started with a welcome speech by Dr. S.P. Gupta, principal of the college, in which he welcomed and introduced the society ‘The Round Table’ to the audience, comprising of students and teachers of various departments and colleges.

Dr. Rupak Dattagupta, the convener of the society felicitated the distinguished speakers- Mr. Shankar Singh , Mr. Subhash Chandra Agarwal  and  Mr. Afroz Alam Sahil with bouquets as a token of respect and gratitude . As the program proceeded, a video and power point presentation were shown to the audience, in order to give a brief insight to the audience on the topic of discussion, motive of the society to promote it and to introduce the speakers.

The first speaker of the event was Mr. Shankar Singh, a renowned RTI activist, who shared his experiences relating to his fight for promoting RTI at grass root level where there is maximum ignorance. His speech inspired us to fight for this very basic right of ours and to use it for everyone’s benefit.  Mr. Afroz Alam Sahil , a young RTI activist and scholar explained his experiences with the administrative sector and how he used RTI as a tool to get answers for his grievances. In between, questions were put up by audience to the speakers about usage, purpose and need of RTI. After the question answer session, a presentation was shown on how successful RTI had been in the recent years, in a positive manner.

The last speech was made by Mr. Subhash Chandra Agarwal, in which he expressed his personal life experiences relating to filing of RTI and its petition, in quite an entertaining manner. He also put forward many real life examples where RTI proved to be a savior when people’s rights were exploited.

A workshop was conducted by Mr Afroz Alam Sahil relating to online and offline filling of RTI. During this session, many questions were put up by the audience to which Mr. Afroz Alam Sahil answered each question satisfactorily. Lastly, the vote of thanks was given by the president of “The Round Table” Mr. Robin Kumar and certificates were distributed to all attendees.

Right to Information Act was passed in the year 2005 to empower the Indian citizen. An act which can penetrate into any government file, any substantial data and take it out into public domain. But after almost 9 years since the act was passed, still not many know how to use it to incur information.

Whether it is any governmental organisation, rules of procedure to file an RTI are the same throughout.

Here are some initial pertinent points one should know before filing an RTI in context to the Delhi University.

  • An application for obtaining information under Right to Information Act, 2005 is required to be made to the Central Public Information Officer of University of Delhi.
  • The prescribed fees for filing an application is Rs. 10/- by way of cash against proper receipt or by way of bank demand draft or banker’s cheque or Indian Postal Order payable to the Registrar, University of Delhi at Delhi.
  • An Appeal can be preferred before a Registrar and 1st Appellate authority agaisnt the decision of Central Public Information Officer of the University.

The application is addressed to:

Public Information Officer

Deputy Registrar (Information), University of Delhi, Delhi (Presently Shri Jay Chanda)

The following steps / points may be noted to make an application under RTI Act:

  •  The person seeking information may apply on a plain paper giving particulars of information being sought and his/her correct address for communication.
  •  Separate applications for seeking information on different subjects are required.
  •  The application has to be accompanied with the prescribed fee (at present a fee of Rs. 10/-). The fee is payable with each application which is towards the cost of processing the request.
  •  The schedule of fees can be obtained from the Public Information Officer of the University of Delhi. For the time being the rates are as follows:-
    • Rs. 2/- per page of A-4 or A-5 size.
    • Actual cost for sizes bigger than A-4 or A-5.
    • In case of printed material, the printed copies could be had from the University sales counter/authorized sales agents on payment.
    • In case of photo copies, the rate would be Rs. 2/- per page.
    • If information is needed on a disk or floppy subject to availability of information in soft form, the fee will be Rs. 50/- per disk/floppy.
    • Admissible records may be allowed to be inspected on payment of Rs.150/- per hour or part thereof, before the date and time of inspection of the same.
  • A major portion of the information will be available from the University Calendars Volumes I & II, and other rules as applicable to the University from time to time and printed syllabi for various courses. Some of these are available on the website of the University.

NOTE: Confidential matters pertaining to examinations, paper setting, evaluation of scripts and consequent procedures, composition and proceedings of the selection committees and minutes of the University Court/EC/AC until these are printed, will remain confidential and not available in the public domain.

By Arvind Kejriwal

Mechanical Engineer from IIT Kharagpur, he joined Indian Revenue Service in 1992. He started Parivartan, a Delhi based citizen’s movement for transparency and accountability in governance, in 2000. He was awarded Ramon Magsaysay award in the year 2006 for emergent leadership for his contribution to Right to Information movement in India.

Have you ever seen the same road or footpath being made several times over but the road in front of your house never gets repaired? We wonder why the government can’t ask us before taking these decisions.

A silent revolution has just begun in Delhi. People in some parts of Delhi are directly taking decisions about governance of their area. Local officials and politicians simply obey their verdicts. Sounds incredible?

Residents of Trilokpuri and Sonia Vihar were one day surprised to receive a letter from their ward councilor stating that the councilor had decided to do only those things which the people of his/her area direct him/her to do. “I feel that Indian democracy is a farce. People elect their leaders once every five years and then plead before them in the next five years. I have decided to change this. I will do only those things which you direct me to do,” said the letter.

Initiated in Delhi by Swaraj Abhiyan along with the councilors of these two wards, each ward has been divided into 10 mohallas. All residents of a mohalla are members of mohalla sabha. Each mohalla sabha meets once in two months. The councilor and all local municipal officials are present at mohalla sabha meetings. People decide how the municipal funds should be used in that mohalla. Till now, some officials or politicians used to take those decisions. Now, you can just walk into these mohalla sabhas and demand that your road be repaired. Your demand would be taken down as minutes of meeting and funds would be sanctioned on the spot by the councilor. If the number of proposals received are more than the funds available, then voting takes place to decide priority i.e. which work should be done first.

These councilors have announced that the payment for any work would be done to a contractor only if mohalla sabha expresses satisfaction. This would deal a body blow to corruption. Roads, which used to come off within a few days of being made, would now hopefully last their life.

Lists of those who are poor and deserve government social security benefits like old age pension, handicapped pension, widow pension etc are now being made in these mohalla sabhas. People collectively, transparently and openly decide who is the poorest and deserves pensions. Earlier, only party people or those close to the councilor used to benefit from these schemes.

The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi has not only congratulated these councilors but has also requested the Municipal Commissioner to explore the possibility of starting this in other parts of Delhi.

Arti Mehra, former Mayor of Delhi has decided to start this experiment in her ward from 1st September 2009.

The ball is now in the people’s court. The students and youth have a greater responsibility. Join Swaraj Abhiyan. Start this experiment in your area as well. Contact us at 9718255455.

A young mind is full of questions, driven with a passion to change the world, and the Right to information Act or RTI is the perfect tool for them.

Right to Information Act, from its very inception, aimed at initiating change. You ask for ‘it’ and you get ‘it’. This is the basic premise of RTI. It ensures a smooth and immediate, ‘hassle free’ flow of information.

However in Delhi University atleast, the procedure for filing an RTI is far from hassle free. As veteran RTI activist and co-ordinator of the Youth Task Force RTI- Josh4India, Aditya Prasad comments, “At times, I feel RTI is losing its charm because the authorities are not serious in implementing it and the public is not too eager to use it. The way the Commission functions and Appellate Authorities act the fight seems endless. They are making it difficult for the common man to use his right.”

In 2007, Aditya Prasad, a student of Delhi University, challenged the transparency of the newly formed internal assessment system at DU.  He filed RTI applications to get details about the internal assessment procedures followed by various colleges and universities. Universities like Indraprastha and Jamia Milia provided him with satisfactory response.

However DU and its colleges refused to cooperate. “Some colleges had the audacity to say that they were not under the RTI act. DU’s approach is vague and they have not uploaded any manual as well. They call themselves a university but every college has its own rules and regulations for giving out information.” says Aditya.

All this added up to DU’s violation of section 4 under the RTI act.

Aditya says “Under one of the provisions of Section 4 all public authorities are supposed to maintain all their records duly catalogued and indexed in a manner that facilitates the Right to Information.”

After a year full of complications, in 2008, Central Information Commission (CIC) hauled up DU and its affiliated colleges for not implementing section 4 of the Right to Information Act (RTI).

A deadline of 14th November 2008 was assigned to DU to update all of its online manuals, publish copies for public reference and make sure that all the colleges do the same by November 14.

“Since then, till now, we have had no concrete change. In January2007, I wrote several applications for non compliance of the CIC orders but to no avail” says Aditya.

In his crusade for the RTI he has been threatened to the extent of failing him in his University examinations. But, that till now, hasn’t deterred him from taking these steps.

On June 7th of this year CIC along with Delhi University conducted a seminar for the Principals of various Delhi University colleges regarding the necessary implementation of the RTI act.

As we keep our fingers crossed, Aditya says, “Hope it works this time!”