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CIC permits disclosure of question-wise marks

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Students still can’t access their evaluated answer-sheets but they are getting close.


The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered the Central Board of Secondary Education to give a Delhi student, question-wise marks awarded to her in the Class X science and technology paper in 2005.

The CBSE – that has been strongly opposed to showing students their evaluated answer-sheets – had responded in this case that there were no provisions in the examination byelaws of the board to show the answer-script to candidates.


An internal appeal moved on behalf of the student, Aditi Gupta, against this response was also turned down; the CBSE took cover under an exemption clause in the Right to Information clause that bars information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship.


Incidentally, the CIC had first cited this exemption clause to turn down an RTI request in February. The order had been severely criticised by RTI activists including Magsaysay award-winner Arvind Kejriwal who argued that the commission had misinterpreted this provision. In subsequent cases, the commission, however, agreed to take a relook and refer this issue to a Full Bench of the Commission to take final call.


In a brief order this week, Information Commissioner Dr OP Kejariwal kept the request for inspection of the answer-sheet pending in view of the constitution of the Full Bench but ordered CBSE to "disclose the question-wise marks obtained" by Aditi Gupta in the Class X examination 2005 within a fortnight. The commission had earlier ruled in favour of letting students see the answer-keys, the document that guides evaluators on marks to be awarded for various parts of a question.


The CBSE has the option of moving the High Court against the CIC decision; the public examination body, Union Public Service Commission had approached the court in October, 2006 to stay operation of a CIC directive on disclosure of cut-off marks and individual marks of candidates who took the Civil Services examination. The court had granted the stay on the UPSC plea that disclosure of this information would undermine the entire examination procedure.


(Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Dec.23,2006)

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In a recent decision, CIC has allowed disclosure of question wise marks to a student of CBSE:




The case came today before this Bench wherein the Appellant asked for

disclosure of question-wise marks for different subjects in the Class XII

examinations held by CBSE. The Respondents stated that they were always ready

to disclose the subject-wise marks but disclosure of questions-wise marks would

put a great strain on their functioning. The Commission sees this as no reason for

not allowing disclosure of question wise marks to the Appellant.



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In a decision contrary to the above, IC SG has disallowed the disclosure of question wise marks to a CBSE class XII student on 4th November 2009:




As per the Full Bench decision of the Commission in Rakesh Kumar Singh & Ors. v. PIO, Lok Sabha Secretariat & Ors. CIC/WB/C2006/00223 copies of answer sheet need not be provided by certain public authorities including CBSE. The basis for this decision is that huge numbers of students take examinations conducted by the CBSE and therefore disclosure of answer sheets would be practically very difficult. Furthermore, the Commission noted that “every University and Board has a mechanism for re-evaluation which can be made use of by those who have genuine apprehensions about the fairness of the system”.

The Appellant has sought question-wise marks in Chemistry exam in 2006. The problems faced by CBSE in providing copies of answer sheets, based on which the Commission had ruled in the favour of CBSE, are the same as those that it would face in disclosing question-wise marks.

In view of this, the Commission hereby withdraws its previous decision.


This is a "adjunct" decision to the original - the original order on 22/12/2008 had allowed the disclosure of question wise marks.


How come the adjunct came nearly a year after the original decision ?

What happened in the meantime ?

Did anyone ask the IC for a review ?

Why didn't the PIO provide the information as per the original order of 22/12/2008 ?

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I have requested for the details of an answer in a departmental examination(I got the answer key, but not satisfied with that i have sent a request under RTI). But I got the reply that it can not be disclosed since the case is pending in one of the benches of Patna Central Administrative Tribunal. I have submitted an appeal. The CIC is hearing this case this week. I wish to participate by audio conference. Kindly advice me how I should present my arguments in support of my claim.

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