Friday, December 22, 2006

Let students see their answer-sheets: CIC

Students still can’t access their evaluated answer-sheets but they are getting close. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ordered the Central Board of Secondary Education to give a Delhi student, question-wise marks awarded to her in the Class X science and technology paper in 2005.

The CBSE – that has been strongly opposed to showing students their evaluated answer-sheets – had responded in this case that there were no provisions in the examination byelaws of the board to show the answer-script to candidates.

An internal appeal moved on behalf of the student, Aditi Gupta, against this response was also turned down; the CBSE took cover under an exemption clause in the Right to Information clause that bars information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship.

Incidentally, the CIC had first cited this exemption clause to turn down an RTI request in February. The order had been severely criticised by RTI activists including Magsaysay award-winner Arvind Kejriwal who argued that the commission had misinterpreted this provision. In subsequent cases, the commission, however, agreed to take a relook and refer this issue to a Full Bench of the Commission to take final call.

In a brief order this week, Information Commissioner Dr OP Kejariwal kept the request for inspection of the answer-sheet pending in view of the constitution of the Full Bench but ordered CBSE to "disclose the question-wise marks obtained" by Aditi Gupta in the Class X examination 2005 within a fortnight. The commission had earlier ruled in favour of letting students see the answer-keys, the document that guides evaluators on marks to be awarded for various parts of a question.

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