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  1. #1
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    Question Papers under RTI?


    Hello All,

    I need opinion about the practice of not allowing candidates to take the question papers when exam is over. Can this be challenged with RTI?

    For examples sake the Directorate General of Civil aviation conducts exams to ascertain the competency of flight crew, cabin crew and aircraft maintenance engineers.

    Should these question papers be made public?


    -Jim


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  2. #2
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    Re: Question Papers under RTI?


    jimmorrison,

    Questions Papers can be clasified as "original literary works" and therefore the exam holder can claim copyright. Please see the following decison of the CIC:

    http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_13112006_1.pdf

    However, may I suggest to you to make an effort and file a RTI application to get the question paper for some past years. Maybe,
    you are lucky.

  3. #3
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    Re: Question Papers under RTI?


    Thanks Karira

    Section 9 of RTI Act 2005

    8(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, there shall be no obligation to give any citizen,—
    (a) information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence;

    (d) information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information
    CIC Decision under Shiv Shambhu and Ors vs UPSC
    Since copyrights are part of Intellectual Property right, which is covered under Section 8(1) (d) of the Right to Information Act, this Commission cannot order its disclosure. Under Section 8 (1) of the RTI Act, the UPSC, therefore, has no obligation to disclose any such material unless it is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.

    CIC has overlooked the keyword "third party", while giving this order. The question papers, created by experts on service/contract of UPSC are original literary works [(:]. The copy rights of these works belong to UPSC. In this particular case UPSC is not a third party. CIC should not have hesitated in giving an order to make the question papers public.

    In my opinion it is in interest of the good health of the examination system that the question papers should be made public immediately after the examination. Public scrutiny, can bring out flaws in the papers or in the whole examination system. The public and the inherent general expertise in it may provide suggestions to improve the system.

    Keeping any public examination system away from the publics scrutiny is a big disservice to the public.

    CIC also mentioned the following section. Reading which I will say that i don't understand the phrase "without prejudice", can anyone help me on that, it will be good if some example is given?


    Section 9 of RTI Act 2005
    Without prejudice to the provisions of section 8 [the exemptions], a Central Public Information Officer or a State Public Information Officer, as the case may be, may reject a request for information where such a request for providing access would involve an infringement of copyright subsisting in a person other than the State.

    I have the RTI application ready with me but since I have things to be done with DGCA on almost daily basis, I can't afford to antagonizes them in any issue, I wish somebody else will file it, if anybody is willing we can work on better drafting the application.

    Thanks again,
    Enjoy Jim



    Quote Originally Posted by karira View Post
    jimmorrison,

    Questions Papers can be clasified as "original literary works" and therefore the exam holder can claim copyright. Please see the following decison of the CIC:
    http://cic.gov.in/CIC-Orders/Decision_13112006_1.pdf
    However, may I suggest to you to make an effort and file a RTI application to get the question paper for some past years. Maybe,
    you are lucky.

  4. #4
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    C J Karira
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    Re: Question Papers under RTI?



    jimmorrison,

    You are aboslutely correct.
    However, let's think on a different line.
    If a examination authority decides to let the examinee take away the question paper, how does "copyright" come into the picture.
    "copyright" will only come into the picture, if the question paper is reproduced or the "author's" exclusive rights over the work are infringed.
    In any case, the examinee has already "seen" the paper so what is the point in not giving him a copy of the paper.

    As per following websites:

    1. CAT papers are available in public domain:
    previous year's CAT exam papers - MBA Forums :: CoolAvenues.com

    2. Wiki lists several entires about past examination papers.

    In fact, it is the setter of the exam paper, who needs to be more careful about infringement of copyright, in case he is quoting/reproducing from a book, while framing a question. A good example is "Comprehension passages" in exams. Did the exam setter take copyright permission before reproducing the passage or quotation ?

    As you know there are many many question paper leaks in India.
    Although culprits are booked under various sections of the IPC, I am not aware of any culprit being booked for "copyright" infringement.

    In any case, DGCA papers also leak. So why should they deny the paper to a genuine applicant provided he does not reproduce any part of it elsewhere or uses it for teaching or coaching purposes.

    Please see:

    Pilot test grounded as exam paper leaks out-India-The Times of India

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