The Calcutta High Court, in Dinesh Sinha vs. CISCE, has held that the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) does not come within the purview of a public authority under Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act.
The CISCE is a private, non-governmental board of school education in India and holds the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) examination for Class 10.
The court was considering a writ petition filed by the father of a minor whose RTI application seeking issuance of original answer scripts was rejected by the council on the ground that it is not a public authority.
Referring to the constitution and regulations of the council, Justice Shivakant Prasad said: “The council is not a public authority or body or institution of self- government established or constituted under the Constitution, under the law enacted by the Parliament or by the State Legislature or body owned, controlled or substantially financed, directly or indirectly by the fund provided by the appropriate government. Therefore, it does not come within the purview of a public authority under Section 2(h) of the said Act.”
The court said : “The evaluated answer book is also an information under the RTI Act as it becomes documents or records containing the opinion of the examiner in terms of Section 2(f) of RTI Act, but in the present case, the council origin being established by the University of Cambridge legally with the assistance of the interested Board for Indians by the Societies Registration Act No. XXI of 1860 does not fall within the definition clause of 2(h)(d)(ii) of the RTI Act and cannot be said to be a public body in possession of a document or record and as it is not at par with the Central Board of Secondary Education and is not a state instrumentality within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution.”
Read the Judgment here.