Is the MKCL a public authority under the RTI Act?
The Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited (MKCL) has rejected an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act filed by Hemang Tanna claiming that it is not a public authority. The MKCL is handling the university’s ‘e-suvidha’ project since November 2006 which was awarded without any tendering process. It is said to be a public limited company incorporated under The Companies Act, 1956.
The website of the company claims that it is “promoted by the government’ and Higher and Technical Education Minister Rajesh Tope is the chairman. The website further says its managing director Vivek Sawant and company secretary Komal Choubal are the appellate authority and public information officer to deal with the RTI issues. It has been alleged that over 90% of the stake is of government bodies hence doubts have been raised over the claims that the company is not a “public authority” under the RTI Act 2005 and hence provisions of RTI are not applicable to it.
The University of Mumbai had signed a MoU with MKCL for a project which has been going on for seven years for which the MU has paid over Rs. 3.4 crore apart from providing hardware to the firm. The auditor general, in its March 2013 report, had raised an objection over payment to the company without checking the deliverables.