The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Examination details for the asking

New Delhi, Sept. 6: Want to know why you didn’t get through a public examination and who failed you'

The Right to Information Act will allow you to find out all examination details, including the identities of those who evaluated you.

The central information commission — an autonomous watchdog monitoring implementation of the act — has told the country’s largest examination-conducting body that there is “no valid reason for withholding” such information after the exam process was over.

The Union Public Service Commission, which holds the largest number of examinations for government posts, has been ticked off for withholding examination-related information from an appellant.

Chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, however, said evaluators’ safety would be considered before “sensitive” information is revealed.

The details to be disclosed, says the information commission, include the cut-off marks in various subjects for the different social categories, the relative weight given to the written exam and the oral interview, the number of candidates appearing in an exam, and the identities of those on the interview panel.

Till now, the information commission had only asked government bodies to provide transcripts of individual exam papers. “This is one of the most important cases we have dealt with, because this will set a trend which we hope will lead to greater transparency in the conduct of all public exams,” a member of the commission said.

The order, passed by information commissioner M.M. Ansari, is particularly important because, for the first time, the candidate has been given the opportunity to verify the qualifications of those who evaluated him, other commission members said.

Rajnish Singh Chaudhary, an other backward classes candidate for the post of assistant provident fund commissioner in the labour ministry, sat for the exam and gave the interview in early 2003. He was not selected, and used the information act to obtain the details of the examination process.

Rajnish has alleged that the “constitution of the selection board was not proper”.

Many in the teaching community are worried about the identities of evaluators being revealed.

“There are students who could threaten those evaluating their papers if they do not get through the exams. Scared of the possibility of threats, some teachers may be partial to such goons,” said Suchitra Subramanium, who has evaluated UPSC papers in the past.

Habibullah, when told of these concerns, said teachers had no reason to worry. “If there are concerns of this kind in a case, they will definitely be considered before allowing the identities of evaluators to be disclosed,” he said.

A UPSC spokesperson, however, said the body was concerned because providing such “sensitive” information could impede the exam process.

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