Conditions Stipulated in the Prospectus for Admission Must Be Fulfilled: Orissa HC
Disclosure of Answer Script of Competitive Examinations
The Central Information Commission (CIC) in Potla Sai
Sushma vs Institute of Chartered Accountant held that for a specialized
exam disclosure of the question papers and answer key would defeat the purpose
of conducting such examination.
The Commission held:
because of the specialized nature of examination, the
numbers of multiple choice questions are limited. The candidates are not
allowed to copy either the questions or the answers on the rough sheets
provided which are collected back after the exam. Disclosure of any information
which diminishes the rigour of the screening process of selection and/or
training of financial experts will naturally have a direct detrimental impact
on the quality of CAs practising in the country. Thus disclosure of information
as sought by the appellant in these cases will open floodgates for all
similarly situated persons to secure information which would be prejudicial to
the larger public interest. Therefore, in a specialized, multiple choice
examination, the disclosure of question papers would defeat the larger purpose
of such examination. Hence the information cannot be disclosed.
The appellant had filed an application seeking information
on the question-and-answer key for the Chartered Accountancy (CA) examination
held in May 2019.
Initially she petitioned before the Central Public
Information Officer (CPIO).
25.06.2021, the CPIO responded that he cannot furnish the
details since the request it is beyond the scope of section 8(1)(d) of RTI Act
information including commercial confidence, trade secrets
or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive
position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that
larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information.
Aggrieved by the reply of the CPIO, she filed an appeal
before the First Appellant Authority (FAA). The FAA confirmed the CPIO’s reply
Further aggrieved, she appealed to the Commission and
submitted that the examination contained 30% multiple choice questions (MCQs)
and 70% descriptive questions. Therefore, she claims that she is entitled to
access the MCQs question as well as answer key.
The FAA in its orders had explained that MCQ papers are
framed by subject-experts and the Institute has a limited question bank and
therefore, exemption u/s 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act was claimed by the
CPIO clarified the rationale behind non-disclosure of the
such answer-script to any candidate is that the MCQ section of the examination
contains questions to check the candidates conceptual and analytical memory,
which differs from one to another. If those question are made available to the
public and published the possibility of the following years aspirants becoming
aware of the questions is most likely and therefore inadvisable.
In summary, the Commission, examining the records of the
case upheld the decision of FAA stating that CA examination is a highly
specialized and competitive examination wherein the candidates are asked to
deposit back even the rough pages they have used during the examination, and
disclosure of question-and-answer key would invalidate the selection process
and have a consequential effect on the training of financial experts practising
in the country.
Rasmita Behera | Research Intern | EduLegaL
The Central Information Commission (CIC) in Potla
Sai Sushma vs Institute of Chartered Accountant held that for a
specialized exam disclosure of the question papers and answer key would defeat
the purpose of conducting such examination.