Prof Rajeev Kumar
RTI Awards 2010 | Welcome
Prof. Rajeev Kumar
It was exactly three years ago that 50-year-old Rajeev Kumar, a computer science engineering professor at IIT Kharagpur, took up the fight for transparency in selection process of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
Armed with the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Rajeev Kumar
has over the years forced IITs
to gradually disclose their closely-guarded secret of selection procedure and also started a country-wide debate on how to improve the system.
battle, which began when his
19-year-old son Sanchit missed an IIT seat by just three marks in the joint entrance examination (IIT-JEE), has not ended as he
tirelessly continues to battle to bring transparency to these premier institutions.
is fighting a case in Kolkata High Court on behalf of students who missed a chance to get into IITs
in 2006 and has opened a forum in cyberspace.
son missed his
chance in IIT
in 2006, he
is pursuing BTech in computer science engineering at Jadavpur University
As this did not make any sense, Prof Kumar
wrote letters to directors of all IITs
However, there was no response.
own institution - IIT Kharagpur
- had conducted the examination in 2006, he
gradually found out that there was a concept of cut-off marks.
This was determined by a complex procedure every year.
"By then I got to know about UPSC order and I filed my first RTI application in September 2006," he
"I asked them what were the cut-off marks in each subject and what were the marks scored by the top 2,000 students who have got through.
did not get any response from IIT
filed a first appeal, which was again ignored.
appealed to CIC
first application, he
filed a second application and asked for the procedure followed to determine the cut-off marks, the question paper with model answers and names of all the people associated with the examination procedure of 2006.
said in an evasive reply to this application that there was "no set procedure to determine cut-off marks" and also refused to reveal the question paper.
Undeterred by evasive replies, Prof Kumar
filed a third application in January 2007 on the number of students who got marks above the cut-off marks and had got selected.
Even when he
knocked on the doors of CIC
, which has its office in New Delhi, the process was not simple.
"I am not complaining.
But it is just that CIC
was very slow in its process.
They managed to club appeals on all my three applications only in April 2007 and ordered the information be released," says Prof Kumar
One year after the examination results of JEE 2006 came out, he
finally got the cut-off marks and the procedure by which it was determined.
says, "Till date they have not been able to explain how they reached that cut-off.
"This just showed that Sanchit and 993 others were wrongly excluded from the list of students who got a call for counseling," says Prof Kumar
Armed with this revelation he
approached Kolkata High Court to fight for the rights of these students.
"I was pained to know that there were so many deserving students, much more deserving than Sanchit, who had been denied admission," he
However, the judge did not find any merit in questioning the admission board's decision and did not allow the petition.
The case is still pending before a division bench of the high court.
Through 2007 and 2008, IITs
were repeatedly directed by CIC
to furnish information to Prof Rajeev Kumar
gave no concrete information.
continued to flout successive CIC orders giving irrelevant data.
For Prof Kumar
, it meant a trip to Delhi each time IIT Kharagpur
gave misleading replies to him.
had to come to Delhi and appeal to CIC
to re-open his
case or sometimes to give notice to IIT
to give him information.
The institution was forced to open up.
got personal details of candidates who had got selected.
"I found out how sons of senior IIT professors, who were involved in the examination process, got selected," he
As Prof Kumar
brought media focus on to the issue, the IITs
were forced to declare their procedure of calculating cut-off marks well in advance.
The institutions now declare the procedure on the website before the examination.
The issue was even raised in Parliament.
Parliamentary standing committee on human resource development even expressed concern over "cut-off controversy".
However, there are still miles to go.
Prof Rajeev Kumar
is still trying to find convincing answers to many questions.
Prof Rajeev Kumar