Candidates can seek evaluated answer scripts under RTI
JK Academic Institutions, Recruitment Agencies To Take Cue From SC Ruling
Srinagar, Aug 12: A fresh Supreme Court ruling on evaluated answer-sheets has brought respite to the student community in Jammu and Kashmir, which would often be at the receiving end on this front. The students can now have a right to inspect answer-sheets under the Right to Information Act in the wake of apex court’s ruling that the evaluated answer-sheets are covered under the definition of the term “information.”
A Bench comprising Justice RV Raveendran and Justice AK Patnaik has upheld the judgment of the Calcutta High Court which said that “rejection for inspection of answer-sheets cannot be sustained”.
The apex court dismissed the appeals of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, West Bengal Council for Higher Education, University of Calcutta, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and West Bengal Central School Service Commission which had challenged the February 5, 2009 judgment.
The court agreed with the findings of the High Court that the examination conducting bodies do not retain the evaluated answer-sheets under any “fiduciary capacity”.
In Jammu and Kashmir, it has often been observed that academic institutions and recruitment agencies would deny access to answer-scripts on the grounds that they had no provision for it.
In a recent case before the J&K Public Service Commission, an applicant had sought copies of answer-sheets of the written examination of Combined Civil Service Examination-2010. But the Public Information Officer of the Commission denied the information on the grounds that the “J&K PSC (Conduct of Examinations) Rules 2005 do not provide for providing the photocopies of the evaluated answer sheets or allowing the candidate to inspect the original ones.”
The PIO, Gulzar Ahmad, denied access to the material in the light of a judgment by the Central Information Commission, which has no jurisdiction over J&K, where the J&K RTI Act of 2009 is in vogue.
The candidate, Muhammad Ovais Beigh, has now filed a complaint before the State Information Commission seeking access to the material in the light of the Supreme Court directives.
The SIC is likely to hear the complaint.
There is also no such provision with the universities in J&K. “It is a landmark judgment which would ensure full transparency in the conduct of written examinations,” say a group of Kashmir University students. “The Service Selection Recruitment Board, Public Service Commission, and universities in the state must notify it for the information of students that they would comply with the Supreme Court directives.”
Kashmir University’s Controller of Examinations, Prof AM Shah, said the varsity has already constituted a committee to examine the matter. “As a matter of statues, we would not show the evaluated answer scripts to the students. But now we have framed a committee to examine the matter in the light of the Supreme Court ruling. A decision on the issue would be taken very shortly,” he told Greater Kashmir
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Aug 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Aug 2011 00:00:00 IST
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