Hyderabad: It was a day of surprises for M Shivaleela in the High Court of Telangana on February 12. Unable to pay her daughter’s exam fees on time, Shivaleela, who works as a housemaid, was made to run from pillar-to-post by the Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education (TSBIE). Not only did she not have the Rs. 25,000, which TSBIE claimed was the late fee, she was also unaware about how to bring up the matter with the concerned authorities.
It was then that some kind-hearted souls in the High Court rose to the occasion to help her. A senior clerk at the High Court, Lakku Amar Nath, offered to give a representation to the TSBIE. “I submitted a representation to the TSBIE on 3 February, which later directed me to the chief examination officer. I had conveyed in the representation how Shivaleela’s daughter fell ill, and they were unaware of the date for fee submission. I had also mentioned that they were not in a position to pay the fees,” he said.
The clerk further added how the TSBIE official had asked the student to write the exam in September. “He also wrote on the representation that they have to pay a fee of Rs. 470 plus penalty of Rs 25,000, the total of which comes to Rs 25,470, via Demand Draft.”
What followed was a series of favours. Speaking about the incident, advocate B. Karthik Navayan said, “While Amar got the writ petition numbered free of charge, the person at the xerox shop offered to make xerox copies of the petition free of charge. The advocate, Ravi Kumar Vadlakonda, offered to represent her case, while a typist offered to type her petition, free of charge again.”
Interestingly, the High Court judge had also questioned how the TSBIE could demand such an exorbitant rate from a needy student. “The judge asked, what's the rationale behind it [the fees] so that he could pay that fee on behalf of the student,” said the advocate. The next hearing of the case has been scheduled for February 17.
Meanwhile, the TSBIE said that it had not made any demands nor collected an amount of Rs. 25,000 from her. "She was told to come after some time to process her case along with other students from whom late fee was collected…It is possible that she has been misled into believing that she had to pay Rs. 25,000,” said the intermediate education board.