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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Landmark decision of the Supreme Court on RTI

There have been a lot of queries on this blog regarding the (much reported) latest judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court on the subject of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The lead judgement (alongwith other bunch matters) rendered on 09 August 2011 titled CBSE Vs Aditya Bandopadhya affirmed the orders passed by a Division Bench of the Kolkata High Court in which the right of a citizen to access examination answer sheets was upheld.

The judgement not only deals with the question of disclosure of answer sheets but also various other aspects involving transparency and the interpretation of Section 8 of the Act. The judgement also meticulously defines the scope of ‘fiduciary capacity / relationship’ as mentioned in the Act, a term which has time and again been used by many public authorities (including by the CBSE in the main case) to deny dissemination of information.

The full text of the judgement can be accessed by clicking here.

In light of the judgement, it would be worthwhile to have a fruitful debate in the comments section of this blog-post on the subject.

9 comments:

Mandeep Dhillon said...

Navdeep as you are aware I had applied for old papers of Rashtriya Military Schools entrance exam under the RTI from the Army HQ(MT to be specific). The same were denied by the PIO giving the reason of public interest. I approached the Appellate Authority ie the Provost Marshall. He also denied without giving any specific reason. Then an application was sent to CIC where it is registered as a fresh dak on their website and no decision has been taken since april despite the passage of more than three and half months.
The attitude of the system is not to share information. After all what is the need to hide previous papers of Military Schools when paper of NDA, CDS, AIEEE are available.
It is good that the court has ruled than answer sheets will be made available because some of the staff who are detailed for checking answers sheets do so without application of mind...considering the gravity of the fact that careers of students are at stake this needs to be checked.
Another option is to have tests on the basis of multiple answer choice question papers like AIEEE or NDA and checking automatically.
A good step in the right direction by the supreme court.

Anonymous said...

with this judgement, will answer sheets of exams taken with in the armed forces be open to scrutiny now?

Anonymous said...

It is believed that the existing Govt rules permit that when ever a senior rank happens to draw less pension than a lower rank with same qualifying service, the pension of senior rank will be stepped up to the level of their junior counterpart. Hence, no senior gets less pension than his junior.

If the above statement is true, then doesn't this resolve the issue of OROP?

Mandeep Dhillon said...

While supreme court judgement is welcomed and in the right direction as it will help the students who suffer because of the lackadisical attatitude of teachers detailed for correction of answer sheets, but there is another issue as well...
Despite well set rulings that previous papers are to be made available to the public by the CIC and despite quoting the same in the RTI, PIO of army HQ denied information on previous papers of Rashtriya Military Schools which is an exam held at class V level. If one holds a competitive exam, one must give a fair chance to the students to prepare for the same and this they can only do if previous years question papers are available. Also question papers of all exams from NDA(for which the military schools are a feeder organisation) to IIT are available and in fact organisations like UPSC make the previous years question papers available on their websites.
Why cant the army MT in particular follow suit...or are they being made available to some select people??

B P SINGH said...

20028/Spl Treat/DGAFMS/DG-3A/1393/11/2011/D (Med)

Govt of India
Ministry of Defence
NewDelhi—110001 .

18th Jul 2011 .

To.

The Director General Armed Forces Medical Services
New Delhi-110001

Sub – SPECIALISED TREATMENT FOR SERVICE PERSONEL AND THEIR FAMILIES FROM CIVIL SOURCES

Sir,

I am directed to say that the President is pleased to extend the provision of Ministry of Defence letter No 20028/DGAFMS/DG-3A11348/D (Med) dated 28 Mar 1988 as amended from time to time and last extended vide Govt of India Ministry of Defence letter No 20028/Spl Treat)DGAFMS/DG-3A/331/09/D (Med) dated 31 Mar 2009 for a further period of two years wet 01 Apr 2011 with partial modification as explained in para-2 below.

2. However, as facilities many procedures now exist in certain Armed Forces hosipital the facility for availing specialized treatment for Cardiology and Renal Transplant procedures will
only be recommended on case-to-case basis as follows.

(a) Advanced Cardiovascular Treatment: – Recommendations of consultant/ Senior Advisor Cardiothoracic Surgery who will obtain concurrence of Sr Consultant (Surgery) office of DGAFMS telephonically if necessary. The recommendation should be pre- facto, however in emergency conditions, justitiabie post-facto recommendation may be obtained.

(b) Advanced Renal Transplant Treatment: – Recommendations of consultant/ Senior Advisor. Urology who will obtain concurrence of Sr Consultant (Surgery) office of DGAFMS telephonically if necessary. The recommendation should be pre-facto,however in emergency conditions, justifiable post-facto recommendation may be obtained

3, This issue with the concurrence of Defence/Finance vide their LJO.No 344/AG/PD/11 dated 06/07/2011

Yours Faithfully
(Kulwant Rana)
Under Secretary to the Govt of India

Lt Col(retd) Dr G Kameswara rao, Secunderabad said...

the link , giving the full judgement didnot open. could you give the case number so that it can be accessed on the SC 's website? thanx
lt col(retd) Dr g kameswara rao secunderabad email ID: kamu1932@gmail.com

Penmil said...

@Lt. Col G.Kameswara
Sir,The link opened a few days ago.
This is the Title of the Full Judgement
"2011 STPL(Web) 685 SC 1
Central Board of Secondary Education Vs. Aditya Bandopadhyay
Supreme Court Judgements @ www.stpl-india.in
2011 STPL(Web) 685 SC
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
(R. V. RAVEENDRAN & A. K. PATNAIK, JJ.)
CENTRAL BOARD OF SECONDARY EDUCATION & ANR.
Appellants
VERSUS
ADITYA BANDOPADHYAY & ORS.
Respondents
Civil Appeal No.6454 of 2011 [Arising out of SLP [C] No.7526 of 2009] With CA No. 6456 of
2011 (@ SLP (C) No.9755 of 2009) CA Nos.6457-6458 of 2011 (@ SLP (C) Nos.11162-11163
of 2009) CA No.6461 of 2011 (@ SLP (C) No.11670 of 2009) CA Nos.6462 of 2011 (@ SLP (C)
No.13673 of 2009) CA Nos.6464 of 2011 (@ SLP (C) No.17409 of 2009) CA Nos. 6459 of 2011
(@ SLP (C) No.9776 of 2010) CA Nos.6465-6468 of 2011 (@ SLP (C) Nos.30858-30861 of
2009)-Decided on 9-08-2011.
Right to information – Examination – Inspection of answer books
JUDGMENT
R.V. Raveendran, J.-Leave granted. For convenience, we will refer to the facts of the first case.............................."
Hope this helps.

Lt Col (retd) Dr G Kameswara rao said...

Dear Penmil
Thanx for the detailed info. It surely will help and I will look for it on the SC website.
Lt Col (retd) Dr G Kameswara rao

Anonymous said...

@ BP Singh
Sir,
May i request you to elaborate on the significance of the letter that you have placed on this page.

thanks