Info panel asks GU to furnish answer sheets to BA student

Observing that evaluated answer sheets fall under the "records" category in the definition of "information" under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the Gujarat Information Commission (GIC) has ordered the Gujarat University (GU) to furnish answer sheets to a BA student who had sought these but was denied in September.

Mihir Acharya, a final-year student of English Literature at the university, said he had appeared in a "Literary Criticism" in April, but was marked below his expectations. He applied for a re-assessment, but again got less than he expected. "I applied for a second re-assessment, but that too did not give me the marks I thought I deserved," Acharya said.

That was when he heard about the Supreme Court's judgement of August 9, which allowed students to examine their corrected answer sheets. Three days later, he filed an RTI application with the university asking for "certified copies of evaluated answer sheets of Third-Year Bachelor of Arts Paper-9 - Literary Criticism, conducted by Gujarat University in April 2012", the GIC order said.

However, GU's Public Information officer (PIO) replied saying "the aforesaid matter is under the consideration of Gujarat University Executive Council. After the decision of the Executive Council, copy of evaluated answer sheet will be furnished".

Subsequently, Acharya appealed to the GIC, which observed that request for information made under RTI must either be provided or rejected "as expeditiously as possible and in any case within 30 days from the receipt of the request".

"The Commission is also of the view that evaluated answer sheets in the examination conducted by the GU would fall under the definition of 'information' given in section 2(f) of the RTI Act, 2005. Such answer sheets would be 'records' within the meaning of information," the GIC order, signed by its chief D Rajagopalan, said.

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