Any student who wants to get a copy of his HS Board examination answerscript under the Right to Information Act has to shell out Rs 900. The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education,however,has put the cost to Rs 200. This after the Supreme Court had allowed the disclosure of answerscripts of any examination conducted by any agency in India,under the RTI Act.
The argument given by both the boards for charging the fee is that the entire process of providing answerscripts is an arduous task that involves expenses on the part of the board and considerable involvement of manpower. We have to collect the answerscripts from where it is stored. Then we have to get its photocopy,and then give it to candidate, said Mukhtinath Chattopadhyay,president,West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education. Chattopadhyay,however,added that the fees could be modified if the state government wants it to be changed.
Similarly,Chaitali Dutta,president of West Bengal Board of Secondary Education,said that the board has decided to charge a fees of Rs 100 if a student wants to see their copy and Rs 200 for the getting the copy of answerscripts.
Soon after the apex court order in the second week of August,RTI applications for seeking answerscripts have started pouring. THe HS Board has received at least 50 RTI applications.
Apart from the two state boards,West Bengal School Service Commission,have also come up with its own fees structure. The agency is charging Rs 6 per page for showing the answerscripts and Rs 15 per page for providing the photocopy of answerscripts.
RTI activists have slammed the decision of charging the hefty fees from the students. As per the provision of the RTI Act,other than the charge of Rs 10 in form of court fees or an IPO,Rs 2 is taken per page as the cost of stationery. The fees imposed by state board is against the spirit of the Act, said Sabir Ahamed,an RTI activist. Others feel that the high cost of fees is being levied to prevent many students from exercising the right to see their answerscripts through RTI.
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