By Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI :
On August 16 the Supreme Court allowed a contempt of
court petition against the Chairman Central Board of
Secondary Education (CBSE) and ordered him to
“scrupulously” follow its 2011 judgment which upheld
student’s “fundamental and legitimate right” to access
his answer sheets.
The apex court had on August 9, 2011 ruled in a case
CBSE & Anr. Vs. Aditya
Bandhopadhyay & Ors that a
student has a “fundamental and legitimate right” to access
his answer sheets under the Right to Information Act.
The August 16 order by a Bench led by Justice Ranjan Gogoi
came on a plea by Kumar Shanu of Noida
and Paras Jain of Delhi, seeking the court’s
permission to initiate contempt proceedings against the
Board for charging Rs.700 per copy of an answer sheet.
Over and above this, students are compulsorily required
to go through the process of verification of marks for
which they have to pay another Rs. 300 as fee. Only
then, would they be eligible to apply for a copy of
their answer sheets.
The applicants -- Kumar Shanu
and Paras Jain -- both of them Law students and RTI
activists, had contended that a student ends up coughing
up Rs. 1,000 to the CBSE to obtain a hard copy of
his answer sheet. The information came out in a reply
from the CBSE to an RTI application made by the
The CBSE, however, contended that the charges levied
were incidental and not for profit.
The applicants contended that the practice was in
contempt of the Aditya
Bandhopadhyay judgement of the Supreme Court, which held
that an “answer sheet is an information under Section
2(f) of the RTI Act and therefore, examinees/students
have a fundamental and legal right of having access to
their answer sheets under RTI Act.”
The 2011 judgment had held that there existed a
fiduciary relationship between the examining body and
The petitioners contended that the CBSE was levying
these charges when the RTI Act had intended students to
access answer sheets, which qualify as ‘information’,
for Rs. 2 a page along with Rs. 10 for the RTI
application. It had argued that students falling under
the Below Poverty Line category were guaranteed free
access to their answer sheets under the law.
“It is ironical and astonishing that the CBSE, being an
educational institution responsible for educating a
large section of the society, is blatantly flouting the
law laid down by the Supreme Court,” Kumar Shanu told
this correspondent on phone.