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Secret of civil exams busted

New Delhi, Nov. 13: Students appearing in civil service examinations next year will for the first time know the “secret” process that decides success or failure.

A reluctant Union Public Service Commission will have to disclose all details of its examinations within the next two weeks, or be penalised by the Central Information Commission.

From the identities of exam evaluators to the cut-off marks for each category of students — general and various reserved segments — to the process of moderating the marks, nothing is to be held secret, the commission told the UPSC.

On September 1, the information watchdog had directed the UPSC to disclose all these details — barring the ones relating to moderation of marks — for the examination for Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner in 2002-03.

The appellant in that case, Rajnish Choudhary, had barely finished celebrating the judgment, when on September 14, the UPSC cited a number of similar appeals before it and pleaded against the decision before the commission.

Two months of legal wrangle followed, during which the commission agreed to put the September 1 decision on hold till it heard the other cases — over 2,000 — together, and consider the UPSC’s pleas.

These cases — where the appellants had also sought to see copies of their answer sheets —were heard over the past two months, during which the watchdog accused the UPSC of using “technical reasons” to deny information.

The commission was particularly peeved by the fact that the UPSC kept changing its reasons for not wanting to disclose the details — the argument that it would impede the exam process gave way to “fears” about the safety of evaluators.

The commission cracked the whip after assuring the UPSC that the identity of evaluators would be disclosed only when it was ensured that their safety would not be compromised.

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