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College stops girl from writing exam after brother files RTI query

HYDERABAD: A Right to Information (RTI) query by an activist against an engineering college has led to a backlash against his sister, who is being denied permission to write her examination.

The Gurunanak Engineering College has not allowed Swathanthra Reddy, a student of Computer Science Engineering (CSE) stream, to remit her examination fee despite her final exam being held next month. The action follows her brother, Avinash Reddy, an RTI activist, demanding details of the college's annual fee statements in an RTI query that he filed a few months ago.

The activist had also filed a petition with the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) demanding a probe into the illegal fee demands by the college.

Avinash claimed that they were being forced to pay up to Rs 4.5 lakh for four years even as the Fee Regulatory Committee (FRC) guidelines say that only a total of Rs 2.40 lakh can be charged from students under category B or management quota seats.

While they paid Rs 3.75 lakh for the past three years, Avinash filed the RTI petition when the college asked the student to pay the fourth year fee in the third year itself. "This is a violation of the Consumer Protection Act. They are not supposed to demand an advance payment of fee as one is entitled to opt out of the college anytime," Avinash said.

Avinash has now approached the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) officials so that his sister is allowed to write the exam. "We have asked the college to allow her to write the examination. JNTU will issue the student her hall ticket. We have asked the college to exact only the right amount of fee as per rules," said Ramana Rao, registrar of JNTU.

Meanwhile, a petition is pending in the state information commission against the college. The case filed with the SHRC is up for hearing on April 8. "We have filed a case under the right to life and liberty as a student has to be allowed to pursue her studies," Avinash said.

Avinash pointed out that the management has not relented till date. "They want me to withdraw the case and I am not ready to do so," he said.

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