Information points pertaining to Civil Services Examination was sought - CIC: Inter and intra subject parity and scaling mechanism followed for the Indian Language paper to be provided; Provide minimum qualifications of the evaluators
1. Shri Gaurav Kumar filed three similar applications dated 14.06.2013, 17.06.2013 and 03.07.2013 under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) before the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) seeking information on 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. points pertaining to Civil Services Examination including
(i) the record retention schedule of U.P.S.C. with regard to preservation, and weeding out of candidates’ answersheets in examinations, especially Civil Services Exams conducted by the UPSC,
(ii) no. of candidates appeared for each Indian language paper and no. of students that did not qualify in each language paper for the year 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Civil Services (mains) Examination,
(iii) no. of cases pending in the Supreme Court in which UPSC is a party,
(iv) appellant’s own marks in Civil Services (mains) Examination for the year 2009, 2010 and 2011,
(v) the minimum educational qualifications of the examiners who evaluated the general studies papers,
(vi) does the scaling and moderation techniques for intra and inter subject parity applicable in compulsory Indian language paper of Civil Services (mains) examination,
(vii) does the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pensions in general and the DoPT in particular has any control whatsoever on UPSC,
(viii) appellant’s raw marks for the Civil Services (mains) Examination 2012 and
(ix) the minimum qualifying standards followed by UPSC for Indian Language and English paper in general and particularly for the Examination conducted in the year 2012.
2. The appellant filed three second appeals dated 15.01.2016, 15.1.2016 and 16.01.2014 before the Commission on the ground that the CPIO did not provide him the information and that the F.A.A. erroneously chose to uphold the reply given by the CPIO. The appellant requested the Commission to direct the CPIO, UPSC to provide the information sought by him and to impose penalty on both the CPIO and the FAA under Section 20 of the RTI Act, 2005.
3. All three matters are clubbed together and disposed of by this order.
4. The appellant Shri Gaurav Kumar, his representative by Shri Saurabh Kumar and the respondent Shri Madhukar Sood, Deputy Secretary and CPIO, UPSC were present in person during the hearing.
5. The appellant submitted that he has sought information on twenty two points, inter alia, his own raw marks for the 2012 Civil Services (mains) Examination, no. of students who took different language papers, whether DoPT and Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievance and Pensions has any control over the UPSC and appellant’s own marks for the compulsory papers for Civil Services (mains) examination conducted in the year 2009, 2010 and 2011. The appellant further submitted that the respondent has wrongly denied information sought by him on the ground that it pertains to the core functioning of the UPSC and hence, cannot be disclosed. The appellant also stated that such a ground as taken by the respondent is no exemption under the RTI Act.
6. The respondent submitted that in general, the information sought by the appellant cannot be disclosed as per Section 8(1)(d) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information; of the RTI Act as it relates to the core functioning of the UPSC and disclosure would harm the competitive position of the respondent organization. However, with regard to the appellant’s own marks in the language paper and in compulsory paper for the years sought by the appellant will be provided without any objection. With regard to the issue of raw marks, the respondent submitted that the raw marks do not subsist at the end of the evaluation process and it is only the marks that are awarded at the end of the evaluation process that are reflected in the notified result. In this regard, the respondent cited the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 09.01.2007 in Civil WP NO. 165/2005 (Sanjay Singh v. UPPSC). With regard to number of candidates who have taken each language paper, the respondent stated that there is no separate compilation which will indicate the number of candidates who appeared for each language paper and who have passed and failed that examination. Therefore, information which is not available cannot be provided.
7. The respondent also submitted that the appellant has sought the record retention schedule followed by the UPSC, which has already been provided to the appellant. The respondent with regard to the list of cases filed before the Supreme Court in which the UPSC is a party, submitted that he has no objection in providing the same. With regard to the issue of applicability of inter and intra subject parity and scaling mechanism to the compulsory Indian language paper, the respondent stated that he will check the status with the confidential branch and apprise the appellant accordingly. The Respondent with regard to the minimum qualification standards for the Civil Services Examination evaluators as sought by the appellant, submitted that he will inform the appellant accordingly after obtaining due information. The respondent further submitted that the issue of disclosure of answer sheets under the RTI Act to the candidates is subjudice before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Hon’ble High Court of Kerala at Ernakulam vide their judgement dated 03.08.2012 in WP(C) No. 37734/2010,W.A. No. 1403/2012 (T.R.Rajesh Vs. UPSC) taking inferences from Aditya Bandopadhyay case, directed the respondent UPSC to disclose the evaluated answer books to the petitioner. However, the said judgment was challenged by the UPSC in the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and Hon’ble Supreme Court in their judgment dated 23.11.2012 in SLA (C) NO. 33761/2012 had stayed the operation of the order and the judgment. Consequently, the UPSC is presently not required to disclose the evaluated answer sheets. With regard to appellant’s query that whether the examiners are required to stick to the model answer/solution while evaluating the answer sheets, the respondent submitted that no such model answers are drafted for the purpose of evaluation and also the same has been stated in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section of the respondent organisation official website. The respondent further submitted that remaining information sought by the appellant either is in the nature of queries or is not available with the respondent. Hence, information which is not maintained cannot be provided to the appellant. The respondent also stated that the appellant is seeking inspection of answer sheets of the Indian Language paper (i.e. Hindi) of all the candidates for Civil Services (Mains) Examination, 2012 which cannot be provided as it would invade the privacy of third party and hence, the same is exempted under Section 8(1)(j) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen, information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information: Provided that the information which cannot be denied to the Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person. read with Section 11(1) Where a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose any information or record, or part thereof on a request made under this Act, which relates to or has been supplied by a third party and has been treated as confidential by that third party, the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, shall, within five days from the receipt of the request, give a written notice to such third party of the request and of the fact that the Central Public Information Officer or State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, intends to disclose the information or record, or part thereof, and invite the third party to make a submission in writing or orally, regarding whether the information should be disclosed, and such submission of the third party shall be kept in view while taking a decision about disclosure of information: of the RTI Act.
8. The Commission after hearing both the parties and upon perusal of records directs the respondent to provide following information to the appellant within a period of four weeks from the date of receipt of a copy of his order:
i. Appellant’s own marks for the compulsory Indian language paper, optional subjects and general studies for Civil Services (mains) Examination conducted in the year 2009, 2010 and 2011;
ii. The minimum qualifications of the evaluators to be provided, if available;
iii. Inter and intra subject parity and scaling mechanism followed for the Indian Language paper to be provided, if available; and
iv. The minimum qualifying standards followed by UPSC for Indian Language and English paper in general and particularly for the Examination conducted in the year 2012.
9. With the above observations, the appeal is disposed of.
10. Copy of decision be given free of cost to the parties.
Citation: Shri Gaurav Kumar v. Union Public Service Commission, (UPSC) in Decision Nos.CIC/SS/A/2014/000185/SB CIC/SS/A/2014/000206/SB CIC/SS/A/2014/000328/SB