Answer Sheet Scrutiny : Be Magnanimous, High Court Tells Delhi University

The Delhi University continues its legal battle against the accusation of charging a fees for rechecking and revaluation of answer sheets, when students ask for it. The court termed it to be an act of golden goose and gave a message asking it to show some magnanimity. This was in response to a court hearing of the case between the varsity and one of its students on March 12.

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The court responded to the university’s contention of making money and stated that it cannot allow the inspection of answer sheets under the RTI Act as it already has its own mechanism to do so and for which it charges a fee.

“Show some magnanimity. You say you can give the certified copy of the entire file, but you can’t allow the file to be inspected. This is absurd. Suppose the fee for providing the certified copy of answer script is Rs 2,000 and fee for inspection of the same is Rs 10 as per the RTI Act, then what would he prefer. He will definitely go for inspection. You cannot impose your choice over his discretion,” the court observed.

Instead of becoming a part of the tainted process the student chose the RTI route to seek inspection of his answer copies instead of paying a hefty sum of Rs 1,000 and Rs 750, charged, respectively, for reevaluation and rechecking. Even after his RTI was dismissed by the university, he didn’t lose hope and approached the Central Information Commission (CIC), which directed the varsity to allow the inspection.Though, in September, the court had directed the university to allow the student to inspect his answer sheet as an interim measure under section 2(J) of the RTI Act. Since the matter did not become an issue of concern in the eyes of the public, the university didn’t grant all students the right to inspect their copies through RTI.

However, if the court dismisses the writ petition filed by the university, the decision is bound to have a national implication, with other universities following the suit and serving to relieve a vast number of students who find the fee burdensome and discouraging.The reason why the university is engaged in a rigorous battle in the court is that it doesn’t want to let go of one of its means of minting money, the extent of which is not obvious.

As IANS reported last year, the Delhi University earned over Rs 3 crore in fees paid by students for either revaluation or rechecking answer sheets and for providing photocopies of answer sheets to them between 2015-16 and 2017-18. This is for merely two years.

Same information was sought by the National Student Union of India this year, which, upon getting it, found it a “stringent policy” and threatened an agitation if the university doesn’t stop charging fees for copies.

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