Right to Information Act, 2005 — Section 19(8) — Examinations

August 2nd, 2013

Right to Information Act, 2005 — Section 19(8) — Examinations — Retention of answer sheets — Obligation under the Act is to make available or give access to existing information or information which is expected to be preserved or maintained — Right to access information does not extend beyond the period during which the examining body is expected to retain the answer book.

HELD: In the case of CBSE, the answer-books are required to be maintained for a period of three months and thereafter they are liable to be disposed of/destroyed. Some other examining bodies are required to keep the answer-books for a period of six months. The fact that right to information is available in regard to answer-books does not mean that answer-books will have to be maintained for any longer period than required under the rules and regulations of the public authority. The obligation under the RTI Act is to make available or give access to existing information or information which is expected to be preserved or maintained. If the rules and regulations governing the functioning of the respective public authority require preservation of the information for only a limited period, the applicant for information will be entitled to such information only if he seeks the information when it is available with the public authority. For example, with reference to answer- books, if an examinee makes an application to CBSE for inspection or grant of certified copies beyond three months (or six months or such other period prescribed for preservation of the records in regard to other examining bodies) from the date of declaration of results, the application could be rejected on the ground that such information is not available. The power of the Information Commission under section 19(8) of the RTI Act to require a public authority to take any such steps as may be necessary to secure compliance with the provision of the Act, does not include a power to direct the public authority to preserve the information, for any period larger than what is provided under the rules and regulations of the public authority.

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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