Is the answer sheet to be sought within existing regulations of the University?
The appellant filed an online application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Punjab University seeking inspection of his answer books for B A –II examination held in September 2010 and April 2011 in the subject of English. The Public Information Officer (PIO) asked the appellant to deposit the fee of Rs. 500/- to seek information as per the decision of the Senate. The First Appellate Authority (FAA) passed a speaking order informing the appellant that as per the University regulations, application to see the answer book will be received by the University within 10 days from the date on which the result is declared by the University and appellant has failed to apply within the prescribed time frame of the University. Hence, the information cannot be disclosed to the appellant.
During the hearing before the Central Information Commission (CIC), the respondent submitted that the appellant has delayed in submitting the application to inspect his answer books as per the University regulations. It was further submitted that the University is conducting over 550 Examination per year and setting over 10,000 question papers annually. Disclosure of answer sheets as per the RTI applicant’s convenience at any time after the examinations result would disproportionately divert the resources of the Public Authority.
View of CIC
The Central Information Commission (CIC) observed that the disclosure of answer sheets is allowed under the RTI Act, but such right has to be exercised within the existing regulations of the University (Public Authority). The Commission rejected the appeal stating that the application of the inspection of the answer books is time barred as per the University regulations thus the same cannot be provided.
Does setting such artificial limits for seeking information amounts to overriding the RTI Act? Such artificial and stringent limitation can be truly claimed as against the spirit of the RTI Act.
Citation: Mr. Sukh Preet Singh v. Panjab University in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2011/003884
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/671
Click here to view original RTI order of Court / Information Commission