Monday, April 26, 2010


On request, any OMR/Answer Sheet has to be provided to the student/examinee, under RTI ACT.  Mr. Srinivas Rao of Lok Satta Party helped one such examinee to get access to his answer sheets and also the key.

Read on for more... 
Mr.Y.Naresh, had appeared for the SI exam conducted by the State Level Police Recruitment Board (SLPRB) in the year 2008. The results were declared in the year 2009. On 14th March 2009, he filed an RTI application with the Public Information Officer (PIO), requesting him to provide Xerox copies of his OMR Sheets for Paper III, Paper IV and also the answer keys to his Paper III and Paper IV question paper booklets.
The PIO in his reply stated that he cannot divulge the OMR sheets as they are confidential. Mr. Naresh made a first appeal with the Appellate Authority on the 6th of April 2009. He too gave the same reply.

On 19th May 2009, he filed a second appeal with the AP Information Commission. The second appeal came for hearing in the AP Information Commission vide Case No.4434/ CIC/2009. The hearing was held in the presence of State Chief Information Commissioner Mr. C.D. Arha’s Chambers on 23rd April 2010.

The State Level Police Recruitment Board (SLPRB) was represented by Mr. Satyanarayana, IPS, Inspector General & PIO of the SLPRB. While, Mr. Naresh was represented by Mr. Ganji Sreenivasa Rao of Lok Satta Party, Incharge, CHC, Saroornagar and Mr. Sunand P.

The arguments were short and to the point:
Mr. Satyanarayana tried to reason that if OMR sheets are provided lots of candidates would be applying for them and they would have difficulty in daily administration. Mr. Arha opined that given the fact that he himself has recently directed the NTR Health University to provide answer sheets to an applicant (Dr. L. Srinivas vide Appeal No. 4192 /CIC/2009, Dt. 02- 02-2010) and the fact that the Central Information Commissioner, Mr. Wajahat Habibullah (vide page no.5 para 41) issued directions stating that OMR sheets and evaluated answer sheets should be provided to the applicants under the RTI Act, the stand of the SLPRB that OMR Sheets are confidential isn’t correct!

He also quoted that, “The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi while dealing with an appeal in a similar matter, challenging the order of the Central Information Commission directing to provide a certified copy of the answer sheet to a student, held that the answer sheet cannot be excluded from the purview of Right to Information Act and the examination authority cannot deny the same to students under the Act and directed the Institute of Charted Accountants of India to provide a certified copy of the paper to students under the RTI Act. The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi further observed that the RTI Act legitimately confers positive power to citizens and there should be no further delay in such matters.”

He directed the PIO, SLPRB to provide Mr. Naresh access to the photocopies of the OMR sheets and also the answer keys to his question paper booklets.

This judgment will bring in total transparency, accountability and ensure that the evaluation system runs absolutely fairly. This judgment along with the judgment of the Central Information Commissioner holds good for every examination conducted by any University and by any Public Authority. It would instill confidence in lakhs of people about the fairness of the examinations and their evaluation. And in case some mistake occurs, it provides a window of opportunity for their genuine grievance to be addressed.

Here’s a toast to Transparency and Accountability!

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