The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea filed by two final year law students seeking directions on Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University for providing certified copies of answer-scripts to students as per the fee prescribed under the RTI Rules, 2012 at candidate's request.
A division bench comprising of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta however clarified that the Court has not examined the issue as to whether the charges or fee prescribed by the University of Rs. 1,500 per examination answer sheet is excessive, or could be said to defeat the right to obtain information, as no challenge was raised to the prescription of the said fee under its Rules.
Filed by Akriti Agarwal and Lakshya Purohit through Advocate Paras Jain, the plea sought a direction in compliance of the Supreme Court judgment in the case titled ICSI v. Paras Jain wherein it was held that if a candidate seeks information under the RTI Act, then payment has to be sought under the rules made therein.
The petitioners were aggrieved by a circular issued by the University dated 11.06.2020 wherein it has prescribed the procedure to be followed by the students while applying for obtaining certified copies of evaluated answer sheets under the RTI Act, 2005.
According to the petitioners, the University being an educational institution and a public authority was clearly denying to follow the rule of law and was depriving more than 60,000 students from accessing information under the RTI Act, 2005.
It was argued that since the petitioner has right to apply under the Right to Information Act, 2005, to seek the answer scripts, the respondent University was bound to follow the aforesaid Rules framed under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
On the other hand, it was argued on behalf of the University that the GGSIP University Act, 1998 will prevail over the general law contained under the RTI Act. It was further submitted that the issue raised by the petitioner was squarely covered by the subsequent Three Judge Bench decision of the Supreme Court in the case titled Chief Information Commissioner v. High Court of Gujrat and Anr.
However, according to the petitioner, the Rules framed under the Right to Information Act would prevail over the Rules framed by the respondent University for providing copies of answer scripts to students for which they have also prescribed the fees.
The Court was of the view that in the light of the latter judgment of the Supreme Court in the case titled as Chief Information Commissioner, the petitioner cannot claim the right to seek the copies of the answer scripts by relying upon the Rules framed under the Right to Information Act, 2005, and the fee structure.
"In view of the aforesaid position, it is impermissible for the petitioner to insist that the mechanism/fee under the RTI should apply in derogation of the procedure/fees prescribed by the Respondent University for obtaining copies of answer scripts," the Court observed.
The plea was accordingly dismissed.
Case Title: AKRITI AGGARWAL & ANR. v. GURU GOBIND SINGH INDRAPRASTHA UNIVERSITY THROUGH ITS REGISTRAR
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Del) 489