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Central Information Commission

CIC/AD/A/09/00162

Dated March 26, 2009

Name of the Applicant : Mr.G.Gurunadham

Name of the Public Authority : BSNL, Hyderabad

Background

1. The Applicant filed a RTI application dt.11.7.08 with the CPIO, BSNL, Hyderabad.
He stated that he had appeared for SDE Competitive Exam held during July 2007
and results were declared on 8.7.08. His name was not in the list. He
wanted marks and photocopies of answer sheet. The ACPIO replied on 14.8.08
stating that the disclosure of evaluated answer sheets would render the
system of conduct of examinations unworkable in practice. Also, the disclosure
will endanger the life or physical safety of the persons associated with the
examination process. He also added that the information sought is regretted in
accordance with the full bench decision of the CIC and u/s 8(1) (g) of the Act.
The applicant filed an appeal dt.20.9.08 with the Appellate Authority. The
Appellate Authority replied on 10.11.08. In his reply, he mentioned as follows:
i) Every year BSNL conducts various departmental / direct recruitment
examinations involving thousands of candidates. A common procedure is being
followed for conduction of all the examinations based on the BSNL recruitment rules.
It is pertinent to mention that the examination process is executed entirely within
the organization. Departmental officers are nominated as paper setters as well as
examiners in addition to their normal duties.
ii) Most of the examinations are descriptive in nature giving scope for
variations in the allocation of marks. The disclosure of answer sheets will result
in challenging of such variations in the Hon’ble Court of Law. Due to these
reasons, officers are not willing to volunteer as examiners. Since it is not
possible to isolate the identity of the examiner from the answer sheets, they are
feeling insecure about their life or career due to apprehensions of litigations
raised in the evaluation of answer sheets. Moreover, when the evaluated answer
sheets are challenged in courts, the entire recruitment process comes to a halt
until the decision is given by the court. This results in deficiency of man power
which subsequently hampers the developmental activities of the organization.
The applicant filed a second appeal dt.18.12.08 before CIC. While reiterating his
previous submissions as made in the RTI application and the First Appeal, the
Appellant denied that the Full Bench decision of the CIC passed on the issue of
Section 8(1) (g) of the RTI Act 2005 is at all applicable in this case. The Appellant
also reiterated the stance taken in his First Appeal while contending that
information sought could have been provided by suitably blocking/masking the
identity particulars, if any, of the examiner while taking out Xerox copy of the
original.

2. The Bench of Mrs. Annapurna Dixit, Information Commissioner, scheduled the


hearing on March 6, 2009.

3. None represented the Public Authority.

4. The Applicant was also not present during the hearing.

Decision

5. After perusal of the various submissions of the parties in this case, the Commission
also takes note of the Full Bench decision of the CIC being in Complaint No.
CIC/WB/C2006/00223; Appeal Nos. CIC/WB/A/2006/00469; & 00394; Appeal Nos.
CIC/OK/A/2006/00266/00058/00066/00315 titled as Rakesh Kumar & Ors. Vs.
Harish Chander & Ors., relevant extract whereof is as hereunder:

“….In regard to public examinations conducted by institutions established by the


Constitution like UPSC or institutions established by any enactment by the
Parliament or Rules made thereunder like CBSE, Staff Selection commission,
Universities., etc, the function of which is mainly to conduct examinations and
which have an established system as fool-proof as that can be, and which, by
their own rules or regulations prohibit disclosure of evaluated answer sheets or
where the disclosure of evaluated answer sheets would result in rendering the
system unworkable in practice and on the basis of the rationale followed by the
Supreme Court in the above two cases, we would like to put at rest the matter of
disclosure of answer sheets. We therefore decide that in such cases, a
citizen cannot seek disclosure of the evaluated answer sheets under the
RTI Act, 2005.

40. Insofar as examinations conducted by other public authorities, the main


function of which is not of conducting examinations, but only for filling up of
posts either by promotion or by recruitment, be it limited or public, the rationale
of the judgments of the Supreme Court may not be applicable in their totality, as
in arriving at their conclusions, the above judgments took into consideration
various facts like the large number of candidates, the method and criteria of
selection of examiners, existence of a fool-proof system with proper checks and
balances etc. Therefore, in respect of these examinations, the disclosure of the
answer sheets shall be the general rule but each case may have to be examined
individually to see as to whether disclosure of evaluated answer sheets would
render the system unworkable in practice. If that be so, the disclosure of the
evaluated answer sheets could be denied but not otherwise. However, while
doing so the concerned authority should ensure that the name and identity of the
examiner, supervisor or any other person associated with the process of
examination is in no way disclosed so as to endanger the life or physical
safety of such person. If it is not possible to do so in such cases, the authority
concerned may decline the disclosure of the evaluated answer sheets u/s 8 (1)
(g)…”

6. In the light of the foregoing facts as well as settled law, the Commission directs
the CPIO to furnish all the information as sought by the Appellant in his RTI
application, being the marks and Photocopies of the Answer sheets, within a
period of 15 working days from the date of receipt of this Order. In case the CPIO
deems fit, he may block/severe such part of the information (answer sheet) as
may be considered exempt from disclosure under provisions of the Section 10(1)
of the RTI Act 2005. Copy of the information furnished to the Appellant may
also be submitted before the Commission within the stipulated period of 15
working days.

7. The appeal is accordingly disposed off.

(Annapurna Dixit)
Information Commissioner
Authenticated true copy:

(K.G.Nair)
Designated Officer
Cc:

1. Mr.G.Gurunadham
JTO (Indoor)
MBM, Autonagar
Nellore SSA
AP Circle

2. Mr.M.Diwakar
The ACPIO &
AGM (Legal)
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited
O/o Chief General Manager Telecom
A.P.Circle
Hyderabad 500 001

3. The Appellate Authority &


The Chief General Manager
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited
O/o Chief General Manager Telecom
A.P.Circle
Hyderabad 500 001

4. Officer in charge, NIC

5. Press E Group, CIC