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  1. #1
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    C J Karira
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    Default Can a PA refuse to disclose OMR Sheets and Model answers for a department exam ?


    In a very strange case, Bokaro Steel Plant has refused to disclose the OMR sheets and model answers to a departmental exam. The PIO claimed that this information belonged to a third party - a private outside agency which conducted the exam - and that it has said that there was no agreement with the PA to give it the OMR's and model answers.

    Surprisingly, CIC has upheld the decision of the PIO.

    Disposing off 28 Second Appeals, at one go, and with one single order, the CIC has ruled (quoting an earlier decision):

    http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/MA-02032010-01.pdf

    “Para-9. The CPIO has assured to furnish the information asked for on the basis of available records, except the information relating to the OMR sheet and model answers which were held by a third party, a private Agency that was appointed by the respondent for conduct of the written examination. The private Agency has clearly stated that there was neither any agreed arrangement with the respondent for disclosing the OMR sheets and other related information pertaining to the conduct of examination nor the records were maintained beyond one year. Hence, it could not be furnished. The respondent is unable to access the records and put in public domain the copies of OMR sheets and other details relating to the conduct of written examination. In view of this, the CPIO’s decision is thus justified since the documents asked for is neither held nor controlled by the respondent.

    Para-10. As regards disclosure of ACR grades of the information seekers and the minutes of the Selection Committee are concerned, there is no justification for withholding the information, since the selection process is already complete and over. The CPIO is therefore directed to furnish the ACR grades of all those, who have asked for it. The minutes of the selection committee, as per record, should also be put in public
    domain, as also assured by the CPIO. The information should thus be furnished within one month from the date of issue of this decision. Since the minutes of the selection committee contains a great deal of information asked for by the appellants, it would be possible for them to observe and scrutinize the selection process on the basis of which they could not be considered for promotion.

    Para-11. The appellants have already approached the Court, which has full control over the information held by the respondent. It may, therefore, be hoped that they would get the legal relief in the matter. There is, therefore, no justification for agitating and raising the issues, pertaining to alleged irregularities in selection processes, under the provisions of the Act.”

    ======

    Can a Public Authority hire a outside agency to conduct departmental exams without any control over the examination process, OMR sheets and the model answers ?

    This will create many problems in the future.
    Many services by the Government are being privatised these days - for example, a part of the process for issue of passports will also be soon handled by TCS.
    Does it mean that all such processes will be out of the purview of the RTI act ?

    Someone needs to file a RTI with Bokaro Steel Plant and get a copy of the agreement with the private agency as well as other details in order to get to the bottom of the whole issue.


    @cjkarira

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can a PA refuse to disclose OMR Sheets and Model answers for a department exam ?


    It is normal practice now-a-days to outsource the conduct of exams for selection to fill up vancancies in GOvt. Departments. Most of the exams are conducted through OMR sheets. As per the normal terms and conditions of the contract, the sheet is the property of the Agency that conducts the exam. They dont give it to the Govt. Dept. They only tabulate the result and give. It is a sort of turn key project. Hence, the PA does not have any hold on these sheets. In that view the decision of CIC is reasonable.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Can a PA refuse to disclose OMR Sheets and Model answers for a department exam ?


    Taurus,

    I am not questioning the order of the CIC.

    But how van a departmental exam be conducted by a Private Agency without any control ?

    What is the private agency was bribed by prospective applicants and favoured them ? How will the department ever know ?
    @cjkarira

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can a PA refuse to disclose OMR Sheets and Model answers for a department exam ?



    That is another matter, ofcourse! Normally such outsourcing is done to reputed agencies, who have already conducted such tests for other Govt. Depts etc. and against whom no complaints have so far been levelled or proved. Ofcourse, the procedure adopted by the private agencies lacks transparancy. That is a matter of concern. With the mounting unemployment there are several hundreds of applications for each post advertised. The Govt. depts. with their limited resources and expertise find it difficult to cope up with this. If they undertake this sort of job they may take years to complete even one recruitement. Even the process of recruitment through the UPSC and SSC take a lot of time. As a practical solution such outsourcing is done. Unless proved otherwise it can safely be assumed that the process is fool-proof.

  5. #5
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    Rabindra Kishore Mishra
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    Default Re: Can a PA refuse to disclose OMR Sheets and Model answers for a department exam ?


    I do not see any harm in out-sourcing. The catch is in the agreement between the customer (i.e. Government Agency and the Service Provider). The agreement must have sufficient provisions for Transparency in the recruitment process. It should also have a provision of record keeping (may be digitized) for 10 years. That will serve both the purposes, i.e. lessening the burden on the Organization and meeting the criteria of RTI). However, I think, most of the Organizations will avoid putting such clauses in the Agreement, so that they will keep RTI Act away.



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