New Delhi: In order to ensure transparency in the evaluation of marks by schools, colleges and various competitive exams, the Supreme Court in an important decision on Tuesday ruled that students can go through their answer sheets under Right to Information Act (RTI).

The students appearing for Board, competitive or Public Service Commission exams will have the rights to cross check their answer sheets.

A Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice RV Ravindra and Justice NK Patnaik turned down the joint plea of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, Institute of Charted Accountant of India, Kolkata University, West Bengal counseling of Higher Secondary Education, Chairman West Bengal Central School Service Commission, Assam Public Service Commission and Bihar Public Service Commission.

Approving Kolkata High Court order passed on February 5, 2009, the bench said that answer sheet will not come under section 8(1) (E) of RTI, which is related to  holding of information in trust for another.

It is to be noted that the Kolkata High Court in its verdict clearly stated that if voters are allowed to know the bio-data of any particular party candidate, students too have the rights to see their answer sheets.

Education Boards and Commission were of the view that answer sheet cannot be shown to students by using RTI since it is the fiduciary right of the authority conducting exam. They had contended that the entire system will get disturbed if answer sheets were to be shown under the RTI.

However, the counsel of MKSS and Josh, Divya Jyoti objected to the plea and put forth examples of such institute which allow students to cross examine their answer sheets.

Not convinced with arguments of the petitioner, the bench dismissed the plea stating that the system needs to change with time.

JPN/Bureau