Case Law Details

Case Name : Kerala Public Service Commission & Ors. Vs The State Information Commission & Anr. (Supreme Court of India)
Appeal Number : Civil Appeal no. 855 OF 2016 - (Arising out of SLP (Civil) No.5433 of 2014)
Date of Judgement/Order : 04/02/2016
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : Supreme Court of India (344)

Brief of the case:

  • The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Kerala Public Service Commission & Ors. vs. The State Information Commission & Anr. held that disclosure of checked answer sheets , basis for interview marks is an information which public authority do not holds in fiduciary capacity , hence can be disclosed to information seeker.
  • However, information relating to identity of examiner who evaluated the answer book of candidate has nothing to do with public interest . Further, examiners work within fiduciary capacity for Public Service Commission and therefore, their identity cannot be revealed.

Facts of the case:

  • The case is relating to seeking information post conclusion of Public Service Commission exam. The examinee asked for supply of scanned copies of his answer-sheet of the written test, copy of the tabulation sheet and also name of examiner evaluated his answer sheet.
  • The information so sought were denied by the State Public Information Officer and the Appellate Authority. However, the State Information Commission allowed the second appeal and held that there is no fiduciary relationship in case of answer scripts. Further, the interview marks cannot be considered as personal information, since the public authority had already decided to publish them. However, information about the examiner were not allowed to be given.
  • On appeal to Kerala HC , the court held that the information seekers are also entitled to get the disclosure of names of examiners who have evaluated the answer-sheet because there exist no fiduciary relationship between the University and the Commission and the examiners appointed by them.
  • Aggrieved State Public Service Commission is in appeal before the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

Held by Hon’ble Supreme Court:

  • Supreme Court observed that as far as the information sought for by the examinee with regard to the supply of scanned copies of his answer-sheet of the written test, copy of the tabulation sheet and other information, such information should be provided to the candidate because it is not something which a public authority keeps it under a fiduciary capacity.
  • Even disclosing the marks and the answer sheets to the candidates will ensure that the candidates have been given marks according to their performance in the exam. This practice will ensure a fair play in this competitive environment, where candidate puts his time in preparing for the competitive exams.
  • But the request of the information seeker about the details of the person who had examined/checked the paper cannot and shall not be provided to the information seeker as the relationship between the public authority i.e. Service Commission and the Examiners is totally within fiduciary relationship.
  • Further, the disclosure of the identity of Examiners is in the least interest of the general public and also any attempt to reveal the examiner’s identity will give rise to unwanted consequences.
  • Therefore, in court’s opinion revealing examiner’s identity will only lead to confusion and public unrest. Hence, court disagreed with the decision of Kerala HC on this question.

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