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Hyderabad: Notice to CBSE over high fees

Hyderabad: The Supreme Court has issued a contempt notice to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for charging an exorbitant fee of Rs 1,200 per subject for providing each answer script of the board examinations thereby violating rules under the RTI Act.

The petition was filed by two advocates, Kumar Shanu and Parsas Jain, from an organization called the Whistle for Public Interest (WHIP) alleging that fees fixed for showing answer scripts was a violation of the RTI Act.

According to the petition, the answer script would fall under the Right to Information Act, and the fees payable to obtain such answer scripts should be Rs 10 as an application fee and Rs 2 for each page of the information sought.

The petitioners stated that the answer sheets were information under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act and therefore, examinees/students had a fundamental and legal right of getting access to their answer sheets under the RTI Act.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and K.M. Joseph asked the CBSE to respond to the plea within six weeks. 

The petition also stated that the board had disobeyed the Supreme Court's directions deliberately.

In 2016 as well, the Supreme Court had instructed the CBSE that students had the fundamental right to access their evaluated answer sheets under the RTI Act.

 City parents welcomed the move by the SC stating that the practice of charging Rs 1,200 for giving answer scripts to students was wrong, especially after private schools charged huge fees.

Telangana Parents Association (TPA), president, N Narayana said, “The Supreme Court's notice to CBSE is highly appreciated. It should be a strong lesson to the CBSE. Students suffer from anxiety because of the imposition of heavy monetary burden.”

A member of the Hyderabad Schools Public Association (HSPA), K Venkat Sainath said, “The CBSE is a state-run body. It cannot ignore laws as per their whims and fancies. I welcome the Supreme Court’s contempt notice to the CBSE Board.”