In an important verdict for the students, Madhya Pradesh State Information Commission (MPSIC) has ordered all the universities including private ones to offer certified copies of the answer sheets to the desiring students under the Right to Information Act.
The commission in its December 31 hearing observed that despite a provision in the RTI Act, several universities are either denying copies of answer sheets under RTI or evolving their own set of rules like only allowing applicants to inspect the sheets. The commission also observed that several universities are also charging an excess fee for the same.
Quoting newspaper reports, the commission pointed out in the detailed order issued on Monday that in several instances the failed students were passed after it was revealed in the RTI queries that they got lesser marks by the evaluators mistakenly.
MPSIC information commissioner Rahul Singh, while delivering the verdict, said that only section 8 allows the organisation to deny information under the act but offering copies of answer sheets don’t violate any norm. Under section 2 (1), the answer sheets are also deemed as a record in the act, the order read.
All the private universities which receive government aid or have received subsidised land from the government also fall in the ambit, said the SIC in the order, adding any student concerned could draw the desired information from the private university which doesn’t receive government aid by presenting an application before the Private Universities Regulatory Commission, under section 2(f) of the act.
Underlining the importance of the order, Singh speaking to News18.com said that answer sheets are crucial for the educational future of the students and the order will also fix the responsibilities of the evaluators. Evaluators once in the knowledge that the checked answer sheets are available under RTI will practice greater caution and vigilance in their work, said Singh.
The commission has also written to the Principal Secretary for writing to all the universities for implementing the order. Non-compliance with the order shall invite a penalty up to Rs 25,000 or disciplinary action under section 20 of the act, the order says.
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