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Rs 750 for a copy! Not fair

I graduated from Delhi University’s Faculty of Law, last year. During the last semester, I requested for an inspection of my answer sheets, to which the administration said that they can give me a copy of my answer sheet for Rs 750 each. But I only wanted an inspection, and not a copy. It was not feasible for me to pay that exorbitant amount, so they denied. I also received a written reply stating that there is no policy in DU for inspection of answer sheets and only the RTI act allows it.

Recently, a Delhi High Court order allowed the inspection of answer sheets, saying that it is a fundamental right. Under the RTI Act there are two provisions — either one can apply for a certified copy of the answer sheets by paying two rupees per page, or one can apply for an inspection of a particular document. And as per the RTI, the answer sheet is a document.

But the DU administration says that it will allow inspection of the photocopy of answer sheets by paying Rs 750 per answer sheet. Law students pay around Rs 5,000 as their annual fee. And we have around five subjects per semester. So, if someone is applying for a copy of answer sheet for every subject, it will amount to around Rs 5,000 — that too for one semester. For two semesters, it will be around Rs 10,000. This means that one will end up paying more than their college fees for inspection.

Moreover, there have been cases where evaluation has not been conducted properly because we do not have any evaluation criteria prescribed by law.

Also, the re-evaluation law had not been in place since the beginning. Re-evaluation means that the evaluator will be checking a paper thoroughly again. But we only have the provision of rechecking — where on the first page the marks are totalled by the clerical staff — for which they charge around Rs 700. And for re-evaluation one has to pay around Rs 500. But if I am allowed to inspect, then within an hour I can just check whether re-evaluation or re-totalling is required. That way, I can save my money. This will also be beneficial for the economically disadvantaged.

Another issue is that our results are delayed. Suppose, if today the results are declared, an aggrieved student can only apply after 60 days for the copy of his/her answer sheet. So, one will have to wait for two months before applying and in case of any discrepancy, they might miss the opportunity to apply for admission in other universities as the application period will have come to an end by then. In case someone has secured 64% and a university requires 65%, and after two months of applying for the copy of the answer sheets, they get to know that there was some totalling error and they had secured more marks, they might miss their chance to apply in that university despite meeting the cut-off.

The DU council has passed a resolution, which is just a rule. But a rule cannot override the RTI act. The Delhi HC, while allowing inspection, has stated in its order that inspection and providing a copy of answer sheets is the same thing. The university cannot take away what the law guarantees us. It is a legal right which they have been constantly violating, even after the court’s order.

I am currently studying in IGNOU, where the inspection charges are Rs 100 per answer sheet, which is still feasible. But the amount DU charges is way too much. They earn around 3 crores from these re-evaluations. Moreover, DU is still not complying with the HC order and has not been allowing inspection.

— As told to Shruti Das