CIC rejects RTI plea to reveal answer sheets to examinees
Staff Reporter | New Delhi

Standing firm on its earlier decision to deny disclosure of answer sheets to examinees, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has turned down an RTI plea seeking copies of answer sheets of a professional examination.
"While the RTI Act, no doubt, protects and promotes the rights of individuals to receive admissible information, the Commission cannot be totally blind to the fact that disclosure of information (answer sheets of mass examinations) can lead to a virtual collapse of a well-established system," Information Commissioner AN Tiwari said.

The Commission was recently hearing an appeal of one Jitendra Kumar, who had sought copies of his answer sheets of an examination conducted by the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India (ICWAI) in 2001, declarsssing him unsuccessful. Kumar, in his RTI application, further referred to a Government inquiry of 1998, which had investigated into allegations of examination scam and malpractices within ICWAI.

Arguing that there was an over-riding public interest in disclosure of answer sheets in light of the 'Kunal Banerjee Committee Report', the appellant contended that such disclosures were necessary to uphold the credibility of ICWAI's examination system.

The Commission, however, declined to accede to his information request on grounds that providing copies of answer sheets would hamper confidentiality of the examining body. Commenting on the 1998 inquiry, which had probed into allegations of examination malpractices within ICWAI, the Commission observed, "a balanced view will have to be taken. While those who indulge in malpractices must be sternly dealt with, the acts of such malcontents alone should not be reason enough to impeach the whole system."

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</TD></TR><TR><TD class=news vAlign=top colSpan=2>Kumar, a resident of Delhi, had last year approached ICWAI's Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) seeking copies of his answer sheets of an ICWAI exam in June 2001. Alleging manipulations in his results, he also sought copy of the 1998 Government inquiry report on examination scam.</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>