Friday, November 23, 2018

Permitting a candidate to view his answer sheet does not harm public interest or affect the efficient operation of the Government -- SC Judgement


Date of Judgement : 16 July 2018.

In this recent case, the Apex Court permitted the Appellant to view his answer sheet holding that permitting  a candidate to view his answer sheet does not harm public interest or affect the efficient operation of the  Government.

In this case, the Appellant approached the Supreme Court  against the High Court of Allahabad's Order, where by the High Court had held that the Appellant had no right to see the answer sheets in view of Section-8(1)(e) of the Right To Information Act, 2005.

Thus, the issue before the Supreme Court was whether the Appellant  entitled to see the answer sheets of the examination in which he participated?

The Supreme Court while setting aside the High Court's Order made the following observations in the case:

That permitting a candidate to inspect the answer sheet does not involve any public interest nor does it affect the efficient operation of the Government.

With respect to the issues of confidentiality, Apex Court relied  on its judgement in the case of  Central Board of Secondary Education vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay and others [1] where in it was held that the identity of the examiner can not be disclosed for reasons of confidentiality. In Aditya Bandopadhyay case, the Apex Court had upheld the right of an examinee to access his evaluated answer books, by either inspecting them or take certified copies thereof and had observed that the examining bodies (Universities, Examination Boards, CBSE etc.,) are neither security nor intelligence organizations and therefore the exemption under Section-24 of the RTI Act will not apply to them.

It was observed that unless the examining bodies are able to demonstrate that the evaluated answer-books fall under any of the categories of exempted 'information'  enumerated in clauses (a) to (j) of sub section (1) Section-8, they will be bound to provide access to the information and any applicant can either inspect the document/record, take notes, extracts or obtain certified copies thereof.


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