UPSC Aspirant’s Plea Seeking Disclosure of Answer Sheets Rejected by HC

The Delhi High Court has rejected a plea by an unsuccessful UPSC aspirant seeking disclosure of his answer sheets of all seven papers of the mains examination along with their model answers under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad dismissed the aspirant’s appeal against an order of the single judge turning down the same prayer, and said the answer sheets can only be disclosed if public interest requires such a disclosure, which was absent in the present case.

“The issue as to whether the answer sheets of Civil Services (Mains) Examination can be supplied to an unsuccessful candidate or not is no longer res integra as the same stands crystallised by the apex court…Answer sheets of the Civil Services Examination can only be disclosed if public interest requires such a disclosure. In the present case no public interest has been shown as to why the answer sheets should be provided to the appellant herein,” said the court in a recent order.

“This court does not find any reason to interfere with the order of the learned single judge. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed along with the pending applications, if any,” the court opined.

The appellant, an engineering graduate, appeared for Civil Services (Preliminary) Examination 2020 and cleared the same and then appeared for the Mains Examination and was declared unsuccessful.

He then filed an RTI application to see his answer sheets along with a copy of the model answers but the same was refused by the authorities, including the single judge.

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Before the court, the appellant contended that there was no reason as to why he should be denied access to his own answer sheets and marks obtained by him in the Civil Services Examination.

In its order, the court noted that the Supreme Court has dealt with the issue in a matter before it and considered the problems in showing evaluated answer books to candidates.

The court recorded that as per the top court order, information sought with regard to marks in Civil Services Exam cannot be directed to be furnished mechanically.

The court noted that the Supreme Court has said that non-appreciation of the evaluation process would lead to erosion of faith and credibility in the system, including through litigation, and lead to the danger of coaching institutes collecting copies.

The quality of assessment standards would also suffer, it said.

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