CIC caps evaluated answersheets at Rs 2

CIC rules out Delhi university's order to collect Rs 750 fee per answersheet.

New Delhi: Universities and examining bodies cannot charge more than Rs 2 per page for providing copies of evaluated answer scripts to students, the Central Infor-mation Commission has ruled as it struck down the Rs 750 per answer sheet fee imposed by Delhi University.

In a stern order, information commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said Delhi University, by imposing a high fee of Rs 750 for providing access to answersheets under the RTI Act, has created two classes of students — those who can afford to have a copy by paying Rs 750 and those who cannot, which is a clear breach of right to equality guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution.

Citing the RTI rules of Delhi University, Acharyulu said it has not applied these for copies of answersheets sought under the transparency law and that it cannot discriminate by asking higher cost for copies of answersheets from a student and Rs 2 per page for other documents.

“Even if we accept contention that the respondent authority (Delhi University) was autonomous and competent enough to make its own rules and regulations, that authority has no power to restrict the access to information which was guaranteed by the RTI Act,” he said.

He was hearing the complaint of Delhi University student Abne Ingty who approached the transparency panel challenging the cost of Rs 750 per question paper imposed for accessing answersheets under the RTI Act.

Ingty was asked to deposit Rs 3,750 for getting copies of answersheets for five papers. Acharyulu said he found merit in Ingty’s contention that prescribing unreasonable cost and time constraint will amount to complete denial of information to the students on grounds of their economic status.

He said a university or any other authority cannot use its authority to make subordinate legislation to infringe the legal and constitutional rights of the students or citizens.

Acharyulu held that Delhi University or any other university or public authority cannot ignore or bypass the mandate of Parliament given in RTI Act.

“It is very sad that education institution like the university is not mindful of the basic fact and they are going on denying information to the students by imposing high cost which means if you cannot afford, you cannot access,” he said.

( Source : PTI )
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