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Asha Kanta Sharma

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Critical Analysis of Supreme Court Judgements on the RTI Act, 2005 - Union Public Service Commission Vs. Gourhari Kamila (2014) 13 SCC 653



Critical Analysis of Supreme Court Judgements on the RTI Act, 2005

By Shailesh Gandhi,
Former Central Information Commissioner


Judgment : Union Public Service Commission Vs. Gourhari Kamila (2014) 13 SCC 653

Issue before the Court: The applicant had sought the following
information for an Interview conducted by UPSC which had been

a) How many years of experience in the relevant field (Analytical
methods and research in the field of Ballistics) mentioned in the
advertisement have been considered for the short listing of the
candidates for the interview held for the date on 16.3.2010?

b)Kindly provide the certified xerox copies of experience certificates of
all the candidates called for the interview on 16.3.2010 who have
claimed the experience in the relevant field as per records available in
the UPSC and as mentioned by the candidates at Sl.No.10(B) of Part-I
of their application who are called for the interview held on 16.3.2010.

The CIC decided in favour of disclosure and asked UPSC to disclose the
information. UPSC challenged this order and the single judge and the
division bench of the High Court dismissed UPSC’s petition.

The Apex Court quoted the earlier order of CBSE (Judgement 1) as

“We do not find that kind of fiduciary relationship between the
examining body and the examinee, with reference to the evaluated
answer books, that come into the custody of the examining body.”
And again at para 27: “We, therefore, hold that an examining body does
not hold the evaluated answer-books in a fiduciary relationship. Nor
being information available to an examining body in its fiduciary
relationship, the exemption under section 8(1)(e) is not available to the
examining bodies with reference to evaluated answer-books.”

The Court held that:
“By applying the ratio of the aforesaid judgment, (CBSE case) we hold
that the CIC committed a serious illegality by directing the Commission
to disclose the information sought by the respondent at point Nos. 4 and
5 and the High Court committed an error by approving his order.”

Our analysis of the judgment:
In para 23 in the CBSE judgement the Supreme Court had held: “It
cannot therefore be said that the examining body is in a fiduciary
relationship either with reference to the examinee who participates in
the examination and whose answer-books are evaluated by the
examining body.”

In the CBSE judgement the Supreme Court had clearly come to the
conclusion that it cannot be said that the examining body is in a
fiduciary relationship with the examinee. After this the Court had made
an assumption to examine that even if it were held in a fiduciary
relationship it should still be disclosed. It said: “24. We may next
consider whether an examining body would be entitled to claim
exemption under section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act, even assuming that
it is in a fiduciary relationship with the examinee.” In this case a clear
finding that there was no fiduciary relationship has been turned upside
down to give it a contrary meaning. It is not clear why the court made
such an assumption in the CBSE case. But in this UPSC case the
assumption made in the earlier case by the court has been taken as a
ratio and the actual finding junked!



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