State Information Commission, Punjab (SIC) has declared Thapar University Patiala as “Public Authority” and directed them to provide required information to the appellant.
Disclosing this, Spokesperson of State Information Commission said that RTI Activist Akash Verma sought information under the Right of Information (RTI) Act but Thapar University refused the same and said that the university is not falling down in the ambit of RTI.
RTI Activist Akash Verma approached State Information Commission on December 24, 2020, by filing an appeal against the order passed by Thapar University who dismissed this RTI Application by stating that Thapar University is a private deemed to be a university under Section-3 of UGC Act 1956 & is not a public authority.
Spokesperson Informed that Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology has been established by the then Pepsu Government in 1955 consequent upon entering into an agreement with the Mohini Thapar Charitable Trust with a view to promoting technical education in the State. Under the agreement, the joint Charitable Trust was created and Rs. 30 Lakh each by Mohini Charitable Trust, and the Pepsu Government was subscribed to the Institute. On 19.09.1955, Pepsu Government issued a Notification under Section 4 of the Land of Acquisition Act to the effect that land measuring 250 acres was likely to require for public purposes. The land was provided by the erstwhile Pepsu Government, free of cost for the establishment of the respondent Institute and state govt. and UGC gave grants to the said institution.
Disposing of the appeal State Information Commissioner ordered that in view of the decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of DAV College Trust and Management Society (Supra). Reported as (2019) 9 SCC 185 wherein while interpreting the meaning of the term ‘substantially financed’ occurring u/s. 2(h)(i) of the RTI Act, 2005, the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that if an Institution is established on the land given by the State then it would certainly mean that it is substantially financed by the Government & is a Public Authority and is obliged to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.