TODAY -

Searching of the meeting point (RTI Act, 2005)

Y Erabot Singh *

Students appearing for Exam at Bamon Leikai, Imphal in March 2013
Students appearing for Exam at Bamon Leikai, Imphal in March 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



India being in a democratic form of Government a citizen's right to obtain information and end with the information being made available to the questioner or being made rejected justly on ground recognized by the Act is ever increasing. In the context of India the people of the country had been cherishing to challenge the behavior of the Colonial rule in India.

After attaining independence it was thus necessary to protect the basic human rights by incorporating a Bill of Rights which was passed by the Parliament on 15th June, 2005 and converted the same as an Act on 22nd June, 2005.

The Act replaces the erstwhile Freedom of Information Act, 2002. The difference between the earlier and the present is the relaxation of the Official Secrets Act, 1923, various other special laws and having more or less penal provisions for non compliance of the request for information in the later. In other words, the RTI Act, 2005 is an improved type of the previous Information Act,2002. The RTI Act, 2005 gives certain informations which are exempted from disclosing.

In this respect it can be observed that it is not absolute. There are several rulings of relaxations on matters which are scheduled under the non-disclosures. Here in this article is to see the meeting point between two cases of two High Courts, the H.C. of Delhi and the H.C. of Manipur.

In the High Court of Delhi: A girl appeared in the class-X examination under the Central Board of Secondary Education in 2010 applied for revealing marks obtained by her. The Central Information Commission asked the authority of the Central Board of Secondary Education to reveal the obtained marks so sought for. The Central Board of Secondary Education moved to the Delhi H.C. against the order of the Central Information Commission.

But the division bench consisting of the acting Chief Justice, A.K. Sikari and Justice, R.S. Endlaw of the Delhi H.C. held that marks could not be treated as information under the RTI Act as CBSE awarded only grades now. Thus the order of the Central Information Commission was quashed. (Times of India, 28-5-012)

Here it is pertinent to note that the so-called grading system of marks also gives the respective marks obtained by the examinee expressly in written in the result sheet. It can be said that the new system of grading is nothing but to replace the 1st, 2nd and 3rd division under the old system by A, B, C, in the new grading system.

In the High Court of Manipur (WP (c) No. 163/2009: One Ningthoujam Devdas Singh, S/o N. Ibochouba Singh, Keirenphabi, Moirang who was not successful in the examination process for appointment as Sub-Inspector of Police sought for quashing the order dated 26-2-2007 in connection with the appointment of 41 posts of Sub-Inspector of Police of the Police Department of Manipur.

The petitioner (Devdas) sought for information on
i) Copy of the report of Physical Efficiency Test,
ii) Copy of the answer sheets for the written test and
iii) Marks obtained by the petitioner in the Viva Voce.

The Public Information Officer did not response to the request within the stipulated period of 30 days as provided under the provision (S) of the RTI Act, 2005. Consequently, the petitioner made a complaint to the Hon'ble Manipur Information Commission against the State Public Information Officer for his failure to give the required information.

Thereafter the State Information Officer, in compliance with the order of the Manipur Information Commission gave the required information in the form of authenticated documents on 12th November 2008.

After perusal of the answers given by the petitioner and respective marks evaluated by the Board of the D.P.C. re-evaluation was made with categorical reasons by the Hon'ble single Bench of Hon'ble Justice, Sri, N. Kotiswar Singh of the High Court of Manipur in the writ case, W.P. (C) No. 163 of 2009 on 17-12-2013.

Accordingly, passed an order- " either to appoint the petitioner against any existing vacant post of Sub-Inspector of Police or by replacing the last candidate who had secured less mark than the petitioner in the said selection process"

The point herein the two cases, taken up by the High Court of Delhi and the High Court of Manipur in the same matter, rechecking of the answer scrips of a competitive examinations sought for one was not given the right of availing the particular information while the other was given under the provisions of the same Act and rules.


* Y Erabot Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a Member of the Legislative Assembly
This article was posted on February 17, 2014.


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