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Atul Patankar

Your case is devoid of merit: Court tells APPSC

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Atul Patankar

As reported at arunachalnews.com on April 2, 2010

 

Itanagar, Apr 01: Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (APPSC) “irritated” by the decision of Arunachal Pradesh Information Commission (APSIC) after being directed to allow an applicant to peruse an answer script knocked the Gauhati High Court. But the Court dismissed the writ petition filed by Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission as it was devoid of merit and uphold the decision of APSIC.

 

One Sange Norbu, an aspirant for the post of Inspector, Tax and Excise filed an RTI application under RTI Act 2005 to Public Information Officer, Arunachal Pradesh Public Service Commission on 15 Jan 2007 to allow him to peruse Mathematics answer script.

 

Dissatisfied with the answered by the Public Service Commission and given the fact that in a similar case, Public Service Commission had allowed perusal of answer script, Norbu filed an appeal to the State Information Commission . The Arunachal Pradesh Information Commission rejected the contention of the Public Service Commission that disclosure of answer script of any competitive examination conducted will affect the impartial and autonomous status APPSC as the answer scripts are top secret documents.

 

Information Commission had said that answerer scripts are not so secret to be covered under Official Secret Act. It said that once the results are out, answer scripts cease to be confidential and secret and public interest justify the disclosure of such information.

 

Source: Your case is devoid of merit: Court tells APPSC

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    • Shrawan
      By Shrawan
      CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
       
      BLOCK IV, OLD JNU CAMPUS, NEW DELHI 110067


       

      F.No.PBA/06/103
      September 22, 2006


       
       

      Complaint No.113/ICPB/2006



      In the matter of Right to Information Act, 2005 – Section 19.
      [Date of Hearing 18.9.2006]


       
       

      Appellant: Dr. (Mrs) Archana S. Gawada
      Public authority: Employees State Insurance Corporation, New Delhi. Shri C. Sethu Addl. Commissioner & CPIO, Director General, ESIC – Appellate Authority.
      Present: Shri C. Seth, Addl. Commissioner, ESIC
      Shri Arvind Kumar, Joint Director.
      Shri S. Thomas, Addl. Commissioner
      None from appellant.

       
      FACTS:
       
      By an application dated 5.5.2006, the complainant had requested for the following information pertaining to recruitment of IMO Gr.ll/Ayurvedic Physician and Dental Surgeon for which written examination was held on 29.06.2003 :
       

      Total number of candidates applied for the post of Ayurvedic physician, total number of candidates appeared, called for interview and finally selected;
      Supply of a copy of the evaluated answer sheets along with relevant question paper in respect of the applicant;
      Supply of copies of evaluated answer sheets along with question papers relating to the selected candidates.
      She had also enclosed a draft for Rs.100/- towards the application fee of Rs.10/- and Rs.90/- for the probable cost of providing the information. Her application was forwarded on 17.5.2006 to another CPIO and the appellant was advised to contact that CPIO as he was in charge of the information sought for. By a letter dated 9.6.2006, the CPIO informed the appellant that since she had not furnished her Roll No for the examination, her application could not be located and advised her to send a photo copy of the admit card. He had also returned the draft for Rs 100 requesting her to send Rs.10/-. In response, by a letter dated 19.6.2006, the appellant sent back the DD for Rs 100/ and contended that there was nothing wanting in the application and the public authority should have all records and as such the information sought should be furnished. Since she did not get any response, she filed this Complaint on 11.7.06. Comments were called for from the CPIO. By that time,by a communication dated 2.8.2006, the CPIO furnished the information sought in serial no 1 of the application and declined to furnish the information sought in serial no 2 and 3 applying the provisions of Section 8(1)(j). On receipt of this information,the complainant sent a communication to this Commission dated 21.8.2006, pointing out the inordinate delay in furnishing even the part information and contending thatthe CPIO could not have applied the provisions of Section 8 (1)(j) to furnish the remaining information. She has pointed out that to have transparency in examination matters, evaluated answer sheets should be made available to the candidates. In the comments from the CPIO dated 11.9.2006 and 13/9/2006, the CPIO has stated that in addition to the information furnished on item 1 of the application on 2.8.2006, th eanswer sheet of the complainant had also been furnished to her on 25.8.2006 and that in regard to the answer scripts of the successful candidates, the same could not be furnished in terms of Section 8(1)(j). In respect of the delay, he has submitted that it was due the failure of the complainant in furnishing her Roll No etc. While admitting the delay in furnishing the information and highly regretting for the delay, it is stated that it was on account of this case being the first application received in connection with recruitment process which is normally kept confidential. It is also stated that in collecting and furnishing the information, an expenditure of Rs 167.10 was incurred as against the deposit of Rs. 90/- by the complainant.
      The complaint was heard on 18.9.2006 with due notice to the complainant and the public authority. Complainant was not present. It was explained by the CPIO that the examination being of objective type, no manual evaluation of the answer sheets is made and the whole exercise is done by the computer which displays only the names of candidates securing marks above the cut off marks. Therefore, since the marking is not done manually, the answer sheet by itself will not display any marks. That is why, the copy of the answer sheet sent to the complaint does not exhibit any marks on the same. It was also submitted that answer sheets of the successful candidates cannot be furnished in terms of Section 8(1)(j). In so far as the delay is concerned, the CPIO expressed his deep regrets stating that since it was the first application under RTI and since, the recruitment process had always been kept confidential, he was not sure whether the information could be furnished or not. He sought for condonation of th edelay assuring the such delays would not occur in future.

      DECISION:
       

      This Commission has taken the view in similar cases of applications for copies of evaluated answer sheets, whether of the applicant himself/herself or that of others, that the same cannot be furnished in terms of Sections 8(1)(e) and (j). In Appeal No ICPB/A-3/CIC/2006, this Commission has decided as follows: “Therefore, we find that in case of evaluated answer papers, the information available with the public authority is in his fiduciary relationship, the disclosure of which is exempt under Section 8(1)(e). In addition, when a candidate seeks for a copy of evaluated answer paper, either of his/her own or others, it is purely a personal information, the disclosure of which has no relation to any public interest or activity, which of such a situation is covered under Section 8(1)(j) of the Act. Therefore, we hold that the CPIO was justified in rejecting the request of the appellant for a copy of the evaluated answer paper. We, as a Commission, are not satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of the information sought for by the appellant to direct the CPIO to comply with the request of the appellant and as matter of fact we are rather of the opinion that furnishing of copies of evaluated answer papers would be against public interest as has been rightly opined by the appellate authority that supply of a copy of the evaluated answer paper would compromise the fairness and impartiality of the selection process.” [Case No. ICPB/A-2/CIC/2006 (available in www. cic.gov.in)]
      Therefore, the CPIO had correctly applied provisions of Section 8(1)(j) to decline to furnish the copies of the answer sheets of the successful candidates. However, this Commission has also decided that as matter of course, marks obtained by the applicant and the selected candidates should be made available to the information seeker. Therefore, as directed during the hearing, the CPIO will furnish to the appellant the cut off marks prescribed, the marks obtained by the complainant and the successful candidates and also a copy of the key. This should be done within 15 days of this Decision.
      As far as the delay in providing the information is concerned, since the CPIO has explained that the present application was first of its kind seeking for information which had always been kept confidential, I am inclined to condone the delay. However, since delay in furnishing the information has been established, the amount of Rs.90/- deposited by the appellant shall be refunded to her.
       
      Let a copy of this decision be sent to the appellant and CPIO.
       
       
       

      -sd-
       
      (Padma Balasubramanian)
      Information Commissioner
       


    • rohitab
      By rohitab
      I wanted to have copies of my answer book. Also I want to see the evaluated answer books of my friends. The CPIO has refused to give me the copies even though I had paid the amount.
       
      is he justified and can I appraoch CIC for this?

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