6 Sep 2022 6:15 AM GMT
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently dismissed a petition filed in the form of a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to make available answer scripts of all the candidates who appeared for the Mains written examination of the lower judiciary exam in the State. Rejecting the contentions raised by the Petitioner, the division bench comprising of Justice Sheel Nagu...
The Madhya Pradesh High Court recently dismissed a petition filed in the form of a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to make available answer scripts of all the candidates who appeared for the Mains written examination of the lower judiciary exam in the State.
Rejecting the contentions raised by the Petitioner, the division bench comprising of Justice Sheel Nagu and Justice D.D. Bansal observed that making the answer sheets of a candidate available in public domain would violate their right to privacy and would also be against public interest-
Free access to information in public domain is ostensibly an attractive proposition but is not viable in view of the aforesaid complications. The complications and difficulties with the said proposition of the petitioner would jeopardize the working of the examining body and therefore would be against the public interest and counter-productive.
The disadvantages of disclosure of contents of answer sheets in public domain far out number the advantages.
The Petitioner in the instant petition had contended that for achieving the ultimate goal of transparency in the process of selection and appointment to the post of Civil Judge (Entry Level) and District Judge (Entry Level) in the State, the answer copies written by all the candidates be made available on website of the Court.
They further sought for directions of the Court to declare the relevant provisions of the notification for the said exam as null and void which restricted the supply of answer copies to only the candidate concerned who applies for the same.
The Petitioner submitted before the Court that making available the answer copies of all the candidates who appeared in the said examination on the website of the Court would not offend the exemption clause U/S 8 of the RTI Act. It was further argued that the same would not only enhance transparency but would also be academically enriching for prospective candidates who may appear in the subsequent examinations to be held in future.
Per contra, the Respondent submitted that it would neither be in public interest nor in the interest of academics that all the answer copies be uploaded on the Court's website. It was further asserted that the information contained in a particular answer copy was privy to the respective candidate, which couldn't be made public in view of the bar contained U/S 8(1)(j) of RTI Act. It was also submitted that disclosure of contents of the answer sheets to everyone shall be tantamount to invasion of privacy of the respective candidate.
Examining the submissions of parties and documents on record, the Court analysed the case of the Petitioner within the framework of the decision of the Supreme Court in Central Board of Secondary Education & Anr. v. Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors. It noted the following:
Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.
CASE TITLE: ADVOCATE UNION FOR DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE VERSUS HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (MP) 202
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