Bombay Flying Club was asked about Central Sector Scholarship for SC students under directive issued by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment - CIC: The information sought is useful; DGCA directed to coordinate and provide information
Date of Decision : 03/05/2016
O R D E R
The appellant sought information in his RTI application dated 21.09.2013 regarding revision in Central Sector Scholarship under directive issued by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment vide letter No. 11016/19/2005 – SCD – 2 (Vol. IV) dated 25.04.2012 to the Registrar/Dean/Principal of all the Notified Institutions including Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai. The information sought point wise is as under:
1. Please confirm if the above letter was received by the office of the Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai, the action taken on the same during the year 20122013 under the said scheme.
2. Total funds received by Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai for SC students who got admission in Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai and who were found eligible to get financial support as scholarship for covering:
(a). Full tuition fee and nonrefundable charges
(b). Living expenses @ Rs. 2220/per month.
(c). Book and stationery @ Rs. 3000/per annum and
(d). A latest computer with accessories like UPS, Printer, Multimedia limited @ Rs. 45000/ required for pursing their higher study.
3. Furnish the information for the exact amount received during 2012-2013 against this scheme by Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai and
(a) How many students were given financial support / scholarship and out of the amount received how much amount was distributed to eligible students and the number of the students who got benefits. Furnish full names with full particulars of all the scheduled caste students who were given benefit of this scholarship scheme?
(b) How many scheduled caste students were given admission in Commercial Pilot License Training courses/classes Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai during 20122013?
(c) How many students were on Roll in Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai as on 31st March, 2013 in total strength class wise including 1st year to final year?
(d) As per the letter of directives issued by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment; how many SC students were provided/given financial support/scholarship during 20122013 other than the said notification?
(e). Out of the total SC students on roll of Bombay Flying Club, Mumbai class wise, how many SC students did not get this benefit out of this scheme? The total number of such SC student class wise be furnished?
(f) The students who were not covered under this scholarship what all other benefits were given to such students i.e. whether they were exempted from paying tuition fee or they were charged with full fee or they were given any other benefit/concession if so, full facts/information may please be supplied.
(g) Those SC students during 20122013 who were on roll in Commercial Pilot License Training Final Class and have passed out & left, whether they were charged full fee or whether they were not given any benefit of this scholarship etc.
(h) Please state whether timely payment is being made to the eligible students if not then what method is adopted for payments to those student who have completed their courses & have left the Institute in the past.
The CPIO did not reply on appellant’s RTI application dated 21.09.2013. The appellant filed a first appeal on 25.01.2014 but no order had been passed by the First Appellate Authority.
The following were present: Appellant: Mr. Jai Bhagwan Jatav (M:9810634677) and Mr. Jiwan Lal (M:9968090028); Respondent: Absent;
The appellant was personally present in the hearing. Due to some technical issues VC could not be conducted. Hence efforts were made to contact the respondent over telephone. The respondents remained absent at the VC venue despite prior intimation, as informed by the representatives of NIC present at Bandra, Mumbai.
The appellant reiterated his submissions as stated in the facts above. It was explained that despite several correspondences in the matter, the information sought for has not been furnished by the respondent. It was pointed out that even M/o Social Justice & Empowerment that has formulated the scheme for grant of scholarships to SC/ST students has been helpless in ascertaining the desired information. Appellant argued that considering the sensitivity of the matter and in the interest of the students of SC/ST category it is imperative for them to get the desired information at the earliest. The respondents in their written submissions have contended that as per Section 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; of the RTI Act, they do not fall within the purview of the definition enunciated in the aforesaid provision and therefore are not liable to respond to the appellant. It has been further argued that they are governed by the rules and regulations under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and that they are complying with the relevant provisions of the Societies Act.
After detailed study of the activities undertaken by such flying clubs and the regulations governing them, it is seen that all these clubs perform certain critical functions in the larger public interest. On perusal of the Civil Aviation Requirements Section 7 Series “D” Part I have laid down the procedure and the minimum requirements relating to infrastructure, manpower and procedure for grant of approval for undertaking flying training activities. It is also seen that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grants them licenses to impart training. These training institutes have to seek “No Objection Certificate” from DGCA at the initial stages subject to the satisfaction of DGCA with respect to infrastructure, manpower and compliance.
A fair opportunity had been given to the respondents to present their case. However, the respondent has not availed the opportunity to aid the Commission in determining the status of such flying clubs.
The crucial role of access to information cannot be undermined, especially when it concerns public life and safety. The Commission is of the opinion that the information sought is useful and it furthers the process of empowerment and transparency and makes democracy more responsive to such issues. Though the information sought relates to only SC/ST category, it is of vital national importance as it involves technical competence, security of the airfield, life risk posed to the flyer and also public in general. Flying clubs have been in operation for several years now, Bombay Flying Club, established in
1928, being the oldest. Keeping in view the expertise, the inherent risks in flying exercises and all unfortunate incidents resulting in loss of life during flying training in the past, the Commission is sensitised towards the operation, management and monitoring of such flying schools. The Commission is indeed deeply concerned about the role performed by all such flying clubs in the county and is of the view that certain public disclosures are essential for the general public.
As a proactive step towards greater public interest, the Commission, therefore, directs DGCA, being the licensing authority, to coordinate and provide information within 30 days from the date of receipt of this order as requested in the RTI application under consideration, which can be accessed from Bombay Flying Club under section2 (f) of the RTI Act. The appeal is disposed accordingly.
Citation: Mr. Jai Bhagwan Jatav v. Bombay Flying Club in Appeal No.:CIC/YA/A/2014/001906/BJ