Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Question papers also covered under RTI Act

'Question papers also covered under RTI Act'

Jasneet Bindra

Posted: Wed Jun 16 2010, 23:07 hrs

Chandigarh: SIC orders a penalty of Rs 25,000 on PIO of PSEB for denying information; Rs 20,000 compensation for applicant

It is not only answersheets, but question papers for a government recruitment examination are also covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The Punjab State Information Commission ruled this while deciding a complaint filed by Harbans Singh Brar of Bathinda. Brar had sought a copy of the question paper for an examination conducted the Punjab State Electricity Board, Patiala, now Powercom, and its master key.

The commission not only imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 on the public information officer and awarded a compensation of Rs 20,000 to the appellant, but also directed the public authority to display the information on its website.

The PSEB had turned down Brar's request on the plea that the examination was conducted by the National Thermal Power Corporation. Not buying the argument, Information Commissioner Rupan Deol Bajaj said the PIO could not shrug off the responsibility by saying the work of conducting the examination was contracted to another agency.

In the next hearing, the PIO-cum-nodal officer of the PSEB's RTI Cell said the NTPC had refused to provide information, saying question papers were part of its intellectual property and might be utilised in future for similar recruitment exams.

To this, Bajaj said: "The NTPC had entered into a service contract for delivery of a service to the PSEB, against a payment. Therefore, the NTPC remains answerable to the PSEB... A recruiting agency can maintain a confidential and ready pool of questions, but despite their fondest hopes, those questions cannot remain a secret forever. For all competitive examinations, including the most prestigious IAS conducted by the UPSC, question papers are made readily available to the public to provide guidance to the candidates. NTPC has already sold its 'intellectual services' by framing the question paper and is no longer its owner." Besides, there was no contract containing confidentiality clause between the parties, she added.

Asserting that the PSEB had deliberately violated provisions of the RTI Act and explanations of PIO N S Dhanoa had not been found satisfactory, Bajaj imposed a penalty of Rs 25,000 on him, and said the amount should be deposited in the state treasury and receipt submitted to the commission.

She also directed the chairman of PSEB, now Powercom, that in case Dhanoa failed to deposit the penalty within two months, he should make sure that it was deducted from his September 2010 salary. The commissioner also ordered the PSEB to pay a compensation of Rs 20,000 through a demand draft or account payee cheque to the appellant.


1 comment:

  1. its all near about 35 days over that i haven't got any information regarding district administraion. can we appeal after a period of one year if municipal corporation had given us wrong informationa?


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The RTI Act was passed by the Lok Sabha (Lower House) on 11 May 2005, by the Raj Sabha (Upper House) on 12 May 2005 and received Presidential assent on 15 June 2005. Parts of the Act came into force upon Presidential assent, but the Act came fully into force on 12 October 2005, 120 days after Presidential assent.

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