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No prying into answer scripts

Did you think you could use the Right to Information Act and take a look at the answer sheets of the UPSC's civil services exam? Or even find out who your evaluator was? You might not be lucky.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2006 02:54 IST

Did you think you could use the Right to Information Act and take a look at the answer sheets of the UPSC's civil services exam? Or even find out who your evaluator was? You might not be lucky.

The government is considering a proposal to make an exception for examination bodies like the UPSC and the CBSE under the right to information law to the extent that demands of transparency do not compromise on the integrity of examinations.

A decision is yet to be taken but the government is veering round to the view that the demand for a partial exemption might not be out of place. If the proposal gets through, an official said, "It would cover all public examinations including entrance and recruitment examinations."

The RTI does not provide a blanket exemption to any organisation, not even security and intelligence organisations. Public examination bodies, however, can expect a more favourable treatment. The Central Information Commission recently rejected a couple of requests for evaluated answer scripts in departmental promotion examinations

Till the proposed changes come through, officials suggest that bodies like the CBSE and UPSC were free to reject information requests — to know the names of examiners or those who set question papers —that could impact confidentiality and integrity of the examinations.

There may be merit in the argument that examination bodies should be more transparent, an official said, but this should not be imposed on them.

"It should come from within and in measured steps," he said. Education boards in several states like Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa already have procedures in place to inspect or take home a copy of their evaluated answer scripts for a price.

First Published: Feb 15, 2006 01:57 IST