The Ho’ble Supreme Court held that students have the right to inspect and photocopy their answer sheets after their evaluation under the Right To Information (RTI) Act. The apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik allowed the disclosure of the answer sheets of the examination conducted by boards, universities, institutions and public service commissions, when it upheld the Calcutta High Court judgment that permitted the students to inspect their answer sheets.
The apex court pronounced its verdict saying that evaluated answer sheets come under the definition of “information” and reiterated the duty of the public authority under the transparency law to allow maximum disclosure as envisaged by the RTI Act. The case reached the apex court from high court which by its March 28, 2008, judgment permitted a student, Pritam Rooj, to inspect his answer sheets. Rooj was a student of mathematics in the Presidency College. In 2006, when he sat for the first part of degree examination he secured 52 percent marks. In the second year he got 208 out of 400 marks and got just 28 marks out of 100 in fifth papers. Upon seeking re-evaluation, his marks increased by four in the fifth paper.
He contended that his poor marks stood in the way of his getting admission in post-graduation course and applied to inspect his mark sheet under the RTI law which was rejected. The university said that the answer sheets of an examinee cannot be shared. The high court over-ruled it. The order was challenged in apex court by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, among others.