SC Permits Candidate to View Answer Sheet, Says viewing doesn’t Involve Public Interest


July 18, 2018

Case name: Mradul Mishra v. Chairman U.P. Public Service Commission

Date of Judgment: July 16, 2018

In this recent case, the Apex Court permitted the Appellant to view his answer sheet holding that permitting a candidate to view his answer sheet does not harm public interest or affect the efficient operation of the Government.

In this case, the Appellant approached the Supreme Court against High Court of Allahabad’s order, whereby the High Court had held that the Appellant had no right to see the answer sheets in view of Section 8(1)(e) of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Thus, the issue that fell for consideration before the Supreme Court was whether the appellant was entitled to see the answer sheets of the examination in which he participated?

The Supreme Court while setting aside High Court’s order made the following observations in the case:

  • That permitting a candidate to inspect the answer sheet does not involve any public interest nor does it affect the efficient operation of the Government.
  • With respect to the issues of confidentiality, Apex Court relied on its judgment in the case of Central Board of Secondary Education v. Aditya Bandopadhyay and Others[1], wherein it was held that the identity of the examiner cannot be disclosed for reasons of confidentiality.
  • In Aditya Bandopadhyay case, the Apex Court had upheld the right of an examinee to access his evaluated answer-books, by either inspecting them or take certified copies thereof and had observed that the examining bodies (Universities, Examination Boards, CBSC etc.) are neither security nor intelligence organisations and therefore the exemption under Section 24 of the RTI Act will not apply to them.
  • It was observed that unless the examining bodies are able to demonstrate that the evaluated answer-books fall under any of the categories of exempted `information’ enumerated in clauses (a) to (j) of sub-section (1) Section 8, they will be bound to provide access to the information and any applicant can either inspect the document/record, take notes, extracts or obtain certified copies thereof.

Also read SC: UPSC Marks can’t be Disclosed Mechanically under RTI

The entire case can be accessed here.

[1] [(2011) 8 SCC 497]