Wednesday, June 28, 2017

RTI vis-à-vis Students

Shillong Times: Shillong: Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
The Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act) is the most pivotal legislation ensuing to secure rights of the citizens to have access to information under the control of public authorities with some exceptions to information which are barred under the said Act. It is rightly said that an informed citizenry is the backbone of successful democracy. RTI has been an important tool for the citizen to be informed about the public affairs thereby promoting accountability and transparency in the functioning of the government.
When the RTI  is viewed vis-à-vis students, its scope and ambit has been questioned. There was a time when Boards and Universities did not allow its students to have access to their own answer scripts  even after the declaration of the results. Such practice continued even after the enforcement of RTI Act, 2005 for the reason that any move made by the students seeking photocopies of their respective answer scripts  were resisted by Universities and Boards causing hardship to the aggrieved  students and preventing them from availing  the remedies against erratic evaluation and also for re-assessing their performance in improving their answer presentation. Such a situation had indeed forced some of the students to go for litigation and the judicial decisions were in their favour.
The Apex Court in the case of CBSE vs Aditya Bandopadhayay and others observed that the evaluated answer-sheets are covered under the definition of “information” [reported in (2011) 8 SCC 497,]. Now the students are entitled to get photocopies of their answer scripts under the RTI. This would facilitate them to re-assess their performance and further to improve their performance for future examination. But the irony that in our state many students are not aware of this right.
My suggestion is that the Boards and the Universities functioning in our state may enlighten the students about their right to get photocopies of their respective answer scripts by uploading notification in this regard in its official web-site and also get such information printed at the reverse side of examination admit card of the students.
Yours etc.,
Aneeta Synrem