In a setback to the Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE, the Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the board for not obeying one of the court's orders on fess. The court issued notice on a petition seeking contempt action against the central board for charging inflated fees of up to Rs 1,200 from students for getting the copies of evaluated answer-sheets. The petition has said that the board disobeyed the Supreme Court's directions deliberately. In 2016, the Supreme Court had told the board that the students have the fundamental right to access their evaluated answer-sheets under the Right to Information Act. The top court had given this verdict in the year 2011.
The petition has claimed that as per the court's direction, the fee prescribed under the 2012 RTI Rules should be charged from the students for obtaining the answer-sheets. It sought setting aside of the CBSE notification prescribing fee of Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,200 for the students for obtaining copies of the evaluated answer-sheets. The plea has also sought a direction to the CBSE to provide copies of evaluated answer-sheets to the examinees only as per provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 and at the fees prescribed under 2012 Rules.
Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Navin Sinha and KM Joseph asked the CBSE to respond to the plea within six weeks of time. In their petition, cofounders of the Whistle for Public Interest (WHIP) Kumar Shanu and Paras Jain alleged that this is a clear violation of the Supreme Court verdict in the cases of CBSE and Anr. v. Aditya Bandhopadhyay & Ors. and Kumar Shanu vs. YSK Seshu Kumar, Chairman, CBSE. They had taken the central board to Supreme Court in the year 2016 for the same issue and won the case resulting into a victory of "the Fundamental Right to Know."
The Supreme Court had then observed, "When a candidate participates in an examination and writes his answers in an answer book and submits it to the examining body for evaluation and declaration of the result, the answer book is a document or record. When the answer book is evaluated by an examiner appointed by the examining body, the evaluated answer book becomes a record containing the 'opinion' of the examiner. Therefore the evaluated answer book is also an 'information' under the RTI Act."