Constitution of India — Article 226 — Education — Examination — Re-evaluation of answer sheets

August 2nd, 2013

Constitution of India — Article 226 — Education — Examination — Re-evaluation of answer sheets — A provision barring inspection or disclosure of the answer-books or re-evaluation of the answer-books and restricting the remedy of the candidates only to re-totalling is valid and binding on the examinee under rules of examining body, but all rules and by-laws of examining body are superseded by section 22 of RTI Act and examinee has right to get certified copy or inspect the examined answer book or answer book after re-totaling unde RTI Act — Right to Information Act, 2005 — Section 22.

HELD: In the case of CBSE, the provisions barring re evaluation and inspection contained in Bye-law No.61, are akin to Rule 104 considered in Maharashtra State Board. As a consequence if an examination is governed only by the rules and regulations of the examining body which bar inspection, disclosure or re-evaluation, the examinee will be entitled only for re-totalling by checking whether all the answers have been evaluated and further checking whether there is no mistake in totaling of marks for each question and marks have been transferred correctly to the title (abstract) page. The position may however be different, if there is a superior statutory right entitling the examinee, as a citizen to seek access to the answer books, as information.

In these cases, the High Court has rightly denied the prayer for reevaluation of answer-books sought by the candidates in view of the bar contained in the rules and regulations of the examining bodies. It is also not a relief available under the RTI Act. Therefore the question whether reevaluation should be permitted or not, does not arise for our consideration. What arises for consideration is the question whether the examinee is entitled to inspect his evaluated answer-books or take certified copies thereof. This right is claimed by the students, not with reference to the rules or bye-laws of examining bodies, but under the RTI Act which enables them and entitles them to have access to the answer-books as ‘information’ and inspect them and take certified copies thereof. Section 22 of RTI Act provides that the provisions of the said Act will have effect, notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any other law for the time being in force. Therefore the provisions of the RTI Act will prevail over the provisions of the bye-laws/rules of the examining bodies in regard to examinations. As a result, unless the examining body is able to demonstrate that the answer-books fall under the exempted category of information described in clause (e) of section 8(1) of RTI Act, the examining body will be bound to provide access to an examinee to inspect and take copies of his evaluated answer-books, even if such inspection or taking copies is barred under the rules/bye-laws of the examining body governing the examinations. Therefore, the decision of this Court in Maharashtra State Board (supra) and the subsequent decisions following the same, will not affect or interfere with the right of the examinee seeking inspection of answer-books or taking certified copies thereof

Central Board of Secondary Education v. Aditya Bandopadhyay[Bench Strength 2], Civil Appeal No. 6454/2011 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 7526/2009](09/08/2011), 2011(4) SCV(Civil) 337: 2011(8) SCC 497: 2011(9) JT 212: 2011(8) SCALE 645: 2011(6) SLT 282 [R.V. Raveendran, J.: A.K. Patnaik, J.]

Entry Filed under: Right to Information

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