Rajasthan Central University Under Fire for Not Completing Probe Into Student’s Death

The Central Information Commission has directed the university to expedite the inquiry into the death of Vimal Kumar Chaudhary, who allegedly committed suicide in June 2014.

Central University of Rajasthan campus.

Central University of Rajasthan campus. Credit: University website

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has pulled up the Central University of Rajasthan for not completing an inquiry into the death of a student, Vimal Kumar Chaudhary, under mysterious circumstances two-and-a-half years ago and for denying his father all information about the circumstances that led to his death.

Taking up the case filed by the student’s father Ramkumar Jaat, the CIC said he had filed an application on June 5, 2015, seeking information about the FIR pertaining to the injuries sustained by his son after he fell from the terrace of the hostel. Chaudhary was in the second semester of an MSc programme when he allegedly committed suicide.

“The university filed an FIR that Vimal Kumar died due to injuries caused by jumping from the top floor of the hostel. His father filed an RTI application raising certain important questions about the tragic incident. The CPIO gave some information, then in the first appeal, K.V.S. Kameshwara Rao, the registrar and the appellate authority, furnished some more information. Appellant’s father felt the information provided was incomplete and he also complained that although first appellate authority directed to furnish some more information, the concerned CPIO had not acceded to it,” M. Sridhar Acharyulu, the information commissioner, noted in his order.

Taking the university to task for not providing information expeditiously to the aggrieved father, Acharyulu said, “The commission opines that the university has a moral and legal responsibility to provide complete information to the father.”

He also expressed surprise that the university had appointed an enquiry committee a year after the incident on June 27, 2015, but the probe had not been completed till date.

Acharyulu was also severely harsh on the CPIO and the deputy registrar Hari Singh Parihar and directed him to show cause of why “maximum penalty should not be imposed on him for this kind of inhumane treatment to the appellant by not providing the complete information,” by January 30.

The information commissioner said that the deputy registrar had claimed that in his earlier replies to two RTI applications of the same appellant he had first given 70 pages and then 65 pages of information. “He says that the appellant was satisfied by the information that he received in one of the cases filed by him.”

Acharyulu, however, added that the CPIO said he demanded Rs 10 by spending Rs 35 in sending the letter by Speed Post to the appellant. “The commission finds this as a reckless act and wastage of public money without application of mind. It is inhumane for the university to dodge the enquiry for more than a year and a half and deny information to the father of the deceased student.”

Adding that the “the CPIO is not in a position to say anything about the delay in constituting the enquiry committee and also the delay in its proceedings” and that he “also does not know whether the appellant was given a chance to participate in the enquiry or not,” the commission directed him to pay a compensation of Rs 5,000 to the appellant for harassing him by not providing complete information and causing serious delay in enquiry because of which he is still not in a position to know anything about the student’s death.

The commission also directed that the university expedite the enquiry and provide a copy of the report to the appellant “besides initiating necessary steps to prevent such tragic happenings in the university.”