Text: Santoshi Pattem
Mr. Satish Kumar is a student who qualifies for a ST academic scholarship. He had not been receiving any money from the scholarship for the past 2 years and decided to get help. He approached Lok Satta Sanjeevani for advice and filed an RTI appeal to the ST scholarship office (RR District). 30 days after filing the initial appeal and not receiving any response, the Sanjeevani team filed another appeal to the appellant authority. After waiting for another 30 days, the team decided to pursue the matter with the Andhra Pradesh Information Commission and drafted an appeal for the same.
Before they could file that appeal, Mr. Satish received a call from the ST scholarship office asking him to visit them. They promised to send the 1st year’s scholarship amount within 5 days and the 2nd year’s scholarship in 30 days, as the file was pending with the treasury office. They requested him to withdraw his RTI appeal and provide the assurance in writing. Mr. Satish was very happy that he had received a response to his issue and thanked the Sanjeevani team in helping him with his matter. Sanjeevani considers this a partial success and will pursue this matter to the final conclusion - getting the full scholarship amount.
An important lesson from this case that Sanjeevani would like to share with all RTI applicants is this: never mention the phone number in the RTI application. Information conveyed over phone is effectively under wraps. Without the phone number, the responsible department or PIO will be compelled to provide their response in writing which could be used in pursuing the matter further.