The Central Information Commission (CIC) has issued an official order stating the educational institutes in India cannot refuse to provide exam answer sheets under Right to Information (RTI). Recently, GGSIPU (Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University) refused to disclose the information pertaining to exam answer sheet and directed the student to approach the examination cell of the varsity for the same service by paying a fee.
Swati Bhabbar, a student of Architecture at GGSIPU filed an RTI seeking a copy of answer sheets of exams she appeared for in 2016. The PIO (Public Information Officer) of GGSIPU refused to give the necessary information pertaining to answer sheets, directing the RTI applicant to approach the exam cell. The PIO further directed the student to pay Rs. 1,000, and termed it as a mandatory rule of varsity for inspecting answer sheets.
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Mr. Yashovardhan Azad, Information Commissioner clarified that the examinee has ‘equitable as well as statutory’ right to seek details about the evaluation process. He further pointed that seeking access to an examination answer script is with the ambit of Right to Information (RTI) Act.
Clarifying further on the issue, Mr. Azad indicated that the exemption under Section 8(1)(e) was not available to GGSIPU since the appellate was the examinee herself.
CIC was surprised to learn GGSIPU’s practice of charging a fee for proving information under RTI. According to CIC, the PIO of varsity should not refuse to disclose the information under any circumstances. The PIO must not follow the internal mechanism of varsity in the matters pertaining to RTI.