Answer sheets are liable to be disclosed under the RTI Act after the declaration of results
The appellant filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the Punjab University seeking certified copies of his answer sheets for the Exams of Bachelor of Dental Sciences fourth year for the subject Oral Surgery for the subject of Orthodontics for the Session 2012-2011. The Public Information Officer (PIO) denied the information.
During the hearing, the Central Information Commission (CIC) referred to the decision of the Supreme Court of India as held in Civil Appeal No. 6454 of 2011 dated 9 August 2011 in the case of CBSE and Anr Vs Aditya Bandhopadhyay and Ors (http://www.rtifoundationofindia.com/supremecourt1-459) whereby it was held that under the RTI Act, 2005 the evaluated answer sheets of the candidate can be disclosed to him/ her after the declaration of results by the public authority. The respondents could not give a satisfactory response to the Commission’s queries as to why they had continued to act in violation of the decision of the Supreme Court of India. The appellant stated that he had drawn the attention of the First Appellate Authority (FAA) to the aforementioned case also in his first appeal.
View of CIC
The Commission observed that it is beyond comprehension as to why the PIO and FAA of the Punjab University have chosen to ignore the order of the Supreme Court of India. In the said case, the Apex Court also clarified that the right to access information does not extend beyond the period determined by the examining body to retain the answer books. Accordingly, the Commission directed the PIO to provide the appellant with copies of his answer sheets as sought in his RTI application. The Commission granted compensation of Rs. 3000 /- to the appellant noting that he has been put to great physical and mental harassment. Under section 20(1) Where the Central Information Commission or the State Information Commission, as the case may be, at the time of deciding any complaint or appeal is of the opinion that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, has, without any reasonable cause, refused to receive an application for information or has not furnished information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of section 7 or malafidely denied the request for information or knowingly given incorrect, incomplete or misleading information or destroyed information which was the subject of the request or obstructed in any manner in furnishing the information, it shall impose a penalty of two hundred and fifty rupees each day till application is received or information is furnished, so however, the total amount of such penalty shall not exceed twenty-five thousand rupees: Provided that the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall be given a reasonable opportunity of being heard before any penalty is imposed on him: Provided further that the burden of proving that he acted reasonably and diligently shall be on the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer, as the case may be. of the RTI Act, the Commission issued a show cause notice to the PIO to show reasons as to why the penalty should not be levied on him.
Citation: Mr. Saurabh v. Panjab University in Appeal: No. CIC/DS/A/2012/000340
RTI Citation : RTIFI/2012/CIC/819
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