Universities must not charge more than Rs 2 per page of the copy of answer sheet

Central Information Commission (CIC): CIC has directed all Universities, including deemed Universities in India to provide copy of answer sheet at cost of Rs 2 per page. The Commission also directed Delhi University to accept RTI applications from the date of results declaration throughout the period of retention of record. Said order of CIC came upon an appeal filed by an RTI applicant questioning the regulation of Delhi University which enables University to impose unreasonable timeframes and cost constraints on their right to secure copy of answer sheet. In pursuance to a notification issued by Examination Branch of Delhi University, students can seek the copies of the answer sheet by paying Rs 750 per paper only from 61st day to 75th day after release of results. In his appeal, applicant sought information about fee and reasons for collecting huge fee and also contended that the time taken and cost being charged by the University was against the Act and also the judgment of Supreme Court in CBSE v Aditya Bandopadhyay, (2011) 8 SCC 497. After perusal of the abovementioned judgment along with many more judgments of Supreme Court and High Courts, CIC observed that prescribing unreasonable cost and time constraint amounts to complete denial of information to the students on grounds of their economic status, which is in violation of Article 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India. “It is very sad that educational institution like 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. Thus, charging of Rs 750 per answer sheet will amount to breach of sections 3, 6 and 7 of the RTI Act,” the Commission noted. Commission further noted that the high cost of Rs 750 per paper for securing copy of answer sheet and time conditions such that appellant has to approach only after 61 days and before 75 days after result declared will unreasonably restrict the right to access to his own answer book and breakup of marks awarded. While observing that Delhi University or any other university or public authority for that matter cannot ignore or bypass the mandate of Indian Parliament given in Right to Information Act, CIC recommended the members of the Executive Council to change the rule concerning the answer sheet. CIC also directed the University Grant Commission (UGC) and Association of Indian Universities to circulate, publicize and insist on implementation of this order in all academic and examining bodies. [Abne Ingty v. Delhi University, 2016 SCC OnLine CIC 71, decided on January 15, 2016]

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