How to use RTI to Get Your Answer Script

How to use RTI to get your answer script

The Power of Information

It is amazing how information can be used to wield power the sharpest of swords and the bloodiest of guns are incapable of exercising. It is perhaps for the same reason that those in control of this bloodless weapon keep it close to their chest. The wind changed in 2005 when the Central Government passed a monumental legislation: the Right to Information Act. It took the power of information from those seeking dominance over it and empowered those in legitimate need of it.

Every information innately possesses the power to arouse passion. Those in power know this far too well.

The RTI Act possesses the immense potential to greatly benefit the student community. A student in any university or school can demand inspection of his answer script and also take its certified copies.

Who Can File?

Indian Citizens

Any citizen of India can seek information under the Act. There are no legal disabilities for students below 18 years. Guardians of such minors can also file an RTI on their behalf. The power to seek information extends equally to college students, examiners of departmental exams, public service exams and professional exams.

Whom to File?

The Act holds accountable “public authorities” to preserve and furnish on demand information in its control. Within the wide ambit of such authorities lie educational institutions, colleges and schools. Every such authority designates persons to act as Public Information Officers (PIO) or Assistant Public Information Officers (APIO). You can find the names of such officers on the website of your institution. In case names are unavailable, an application may be made to the PIO of any public authority (whether related to the relevant authority or not) for seeking information. It behoves such authority to transfer the application to the relevant authority within 5 days of receiving it.

How to File?

An RTI application simply indicates the desire to obtain information from the requisite PIO. So the first step in obtaining information is to draft an application. A simple application on a plain sheet of paper simply expressing the desire to obtain information may suffice. No explanation for the need/utility/purpose of such information is necessary. An application should ideally not exceed 500 words (excluding annexure).

The application may be written in English, Hindi or the official language of that area. It is always preferable to compose the language in formal and lucid terms (see sample at bottom).

Under the RTI, you may seek certified copies of your answer script or inspect them to your satisfaction. It is thus important to specify what you desire in the application. It is also important to mention the name of the PIO/APIO to indicate the addressee.

I Have Written the Application, What Next?

The next step involves paying for the RTI application. You pay for information at two stages. Firstly, at the initial stage, a standard payment of Rs. 10 is made in favour of the public authority. The PIO/APIO receives the application, inspects it and replies to the applicant indicating the cost of providing the information. Secondly, on receiving intimation from the authority of the cost, the applicant must pay the demanded fee. For photocopies made of A4 sheets, the RTI Rules stipulate payment of Rs. 2 per page. For pages of other sizes, the applicant is required to bear the cost of photocopies. For purposes of inspection, the first hour is free for the applicant and Rs. 5 is charged for each subsequent hour.

RTI_Fee

An applicant may make the payment in cash to the public authority or by means of cheques, demand drafts or Indian Postal Orders (payable to the Accounts Officer). You can pay postal orders online at https://www.epostoffice.gov.in.

I Have the Postal Order, What Now?

Post the application along with the fee at the designated address of the PIO/APIO. Once done, wait for their reply asking for the fee for providing the information. Pay accordingly. The public authority is by law mandated to reply satisfactorily within 30 days of receipt of request.

30 Days Have Elapsed But I am Yet to Receive a Response, Can I File an Appeal?

If 30 days have elapsed without any response, the information is deemed to be refused by the PIO/APIO. You can appeal against their decision within 30 days to the officer senior in rank to the PIO. The first appeal has to be disposed of within 30 days. A second appeal can further be filed within 90 days against the decision of the second appellate authority with the Chief Information Commission whose decision is final and binding.

RTI_Process

What is the Easiest Way of Getting the Job Done?

If you don’t wish to be harrowed by the serpentine queues at the Post Office, you could file online at: https://rtionline.gov.in/. The website is maintained by the Govt. of India and may come helpful in seeking information from Central Universities. I have personally sought information (not answer scripts) using the website and the process is a breeze. The user is required to click on “Submit Request”, Agree to the Guidelines and fill the Request Form. Users can pay the requisite fee of Rs. 10 through Internet Banking and Debit/Credit Cards.

Though not maintained by the Government of India, http://www.onlinerti.com/ also assists applicants in filing RTIs. It is an excellent website that offers predefined formats of RTIs. For demanding information relating to answer sheets, the site has a template RTI that only needs to be fed with the personal information of the candidate. The fee at Onlinerti.com is nearly Rs. 150 and includes governmental fees, printing charges and charges for mailing by registered post. It also takes care of drafting the RTI in an appropriate format and finding the correct PIO. According to one happy feedback:

I received my GATE OMR answer sheet within 10 days of filing RTI. OnlineRTI is useful for students like me and kudos to IIT-K for fast response.

Sample:

In case you find trouble drafting the RTI, feel free to use the template below.

To,

Mr. XYZ [Name of PIO]

Public Information Officer [Designation]

University of ABC [Name of University]

PQR Road, New Delhi [Address]

Subject: Request for Information  under the Right of Information Act, 2005

Respected Sir/Madam,

I am QWERT [Name], a bona fide student of WXYZ Programme [Discipline] of University of ABC. I have duly appeared in the Semester Examinations [Exam/Competition/Subject] for the month of January, 2014 [Month, Year]. My roll number is: 00000 [Roll Number].

I request you to provide me with the following information: [Choose any/all]

  1. Marks obtained by me.
  2. Cut-off Marks.
  3. Certified copy of the answer script.
  4. Model answer script.
  5. Guide provided to evaluators.
  6. Time and place for inspection of the answer script.
  7. Number of students seeking re-evaluation (including inspection, re-totalling, re-assessment, etc.) of answer scripts.

The above information can be provided at: ASD Road, New Delhi [Applicant’s Address].

I wish to bring to your notice the judgment of Central Board of Secondary Education v. Aditya Bandopadhyay (2011) 11 SCR 1028 (paragraph 18) wherein the Supreme Court held examining bodies like universities and schools liable to furnish copies of answer scripts and allow inspection thereof.

If the information sought herein is with any other public authority, please transfer the application to such authority within a period of five days (as per Section 6(3) of the Right to Information Act, 2005) and apprise me of such transfer and related communication at the address provided.

I am a ‘Citizen’ of India. I am enclosing one Indian Postal Order (Postal Order No. 00000) of Rs.10 dated DD/MM/YYYY in favour of the Drawing & Disbursing Officer, University of ABC [Mention as required] as the requisite fee. I am also enclosing relevant documents to assist you in furnishing the said information. Kindly let me know if you require further documents. I am ready to pay any expense incurred in making photocopies of documents on intimation of the same.

Yours faithfully,

QWERT,

ASD Road, New Delhi,

Ph: +91-0000000000

Enclosed: [Attach Relevant Documents Necessary to Ascertain Identity]

  1. Postal Order Number 1234.
  2. Identity Card of QWERT.
  3. Admission Card of QWERT for Semester Examinations of January, 2014.
  4. Marksheet.

Important Links:

  1. SC verdict on making examining bodies bound to provide access for inspection and furnishing of its copies (refer para 18): CBSE v. Aditya Bandopadhyay 
  2. A helpful guide on filing RTIs:
  3. A video explaining the process.
  4. A step-by-step process to filing RTIs online:
  5. An online community of RTI activists.

P.S. – In case you have any query, feel free to ask in the comments below.

Anmol VasishtAbout Author: Anmol Vashisht is a budding lawyer. For long, Anmol has been blaming unfair evaluation for his poor grades. RTI is likely to burst his bubble.

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16 thoughts on “How to use RTI to Get Your Answer Script

  • April 15, 2015 at 10:03 PM

    I have few queries regarding this. Like if I cannot see someone else’s copy, how I am going to judge whether the evaluation criterion was same for all or other? (Mostly it depends on who is going to check copy in which mood)
    Also what after getting answer sheets? What if my claims are rejected, as the panel which they will form ,for rechecking or whatsoever, will have their members. (May reduce my current marks too).

    Reply
    • May 10, 2015 at 4:18 PM

      Hey Deepti, sorry for the late reply.

      That exam evaluation is mostly subjective is true and cannot be denied. I’m not sure you could demand another person’s copy. You could possibly demand some evaluation criteria for specific questions.

      If your claims are rejected, there is sadly not much that can be done; the courts though are always open.

      Reply
      • May 10, 2015 at 6:28 PM

        Thanks :) And I asked for standard evaluation scheme provided to the Examiners. Hope that will help.

        Reply
        • May 10, 2015 at 6:30 PM

          Don’t forget to share your experience. :)

          Reply
  • September 4, 2015 at 1:18 PM

    Hey do not paste Rs. 10 note without watermarking it as “Specimen Copy”

    Reply
  • September 9, 2015 at 9:20 PM

    i got 000 marks in one of the easiest subject organisational behaviour. i have to see my answer sheet that what is truth . what should i do now. will my marks get corrected.

    Reply
  • October 4, 2015 at 5:23 PM

    i got 000 marks in one of the easiest subject organisational behaviour. i have to see my answer sheet that what is truth . what should i do now. will my marks get corrected.

    Reply
  • October 4, 2015 at 5:25 PM

    sir can we send both the online complaint and offline complaint(through registered post) at a time.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    I got 25 marks. I gave my copy for self-inspection. I got a photocopy of my answer script.
    Then i get my copy check from a professor(after HOD’s permission) who also check answer scripts under Calcutta University of same subject.
    After checking my copy, in her opinion, 7 more marks is assured that i shoukd get.
    But what then? I went to CU to do the next step. I wrote an application to Controller of Examinations with my answerscript attached, to get my copy re-check because i deserve more marks.
    I wrote him an application on 5th may. But as i didn’t got any update till 10th june, I went to CU. Had a talk with Controller of Examinations. According to him, their is no such procedure like such, my answer script can’t be checked as i didn’t applied for re-checking before. EVEN I TRIED TO CONVINCE HIM THAT I JUST WANT A PROFESSOR TO CHEVK MY COPY, SO THAT YOU KNOW THAT I DESERVE MARKS AND GET MARKS THAT I DESERVE.
    BUT, he told me to file a case. And nothin’ is possible beyond this.
    And then what? It was not feasible for me to go to court and file a case.
    SO CHAPTER CLOSE. NO USE OF GIVING MY COPY FOR SELF- INSPECTION. BECAUSE NO OPTION FOR INCREMENT OF MARKS EVEN ONE DESERVES.

    Reply
  • September 13, 2016 at 4:37 PM

    Am diploma electrical student
    I attended the Powergrid exam three times
    Unfortunately I lose that three exams
    But I don’t know my marks
    They published only merit list

    Can I have any chance to get my mark details against RTI act

    Reply
  • September 28, 2016 at 7:22 AM

    Hello sir I am Hema from karnataka, Tumkur District, completed M. Com in Tumkur University 2016
    In the last sem I have preformed well in the examination and especially in Indirect taxes and commercial tax subject I was expecting more than 90 in both subjects but I have secured 71 & 72 respectively. I requested for challenging valuation but as our University come under CBCS, there is no provision of photocopy and challenging valuation.
    I was secured 3 rank till 3 semesters
    Because of this 4 sem marks I have lost my university ranking. I am 200% sure that I will get more than 15 marks in each subject. As I attended only practical problems, I have checked with many answer books and questions given in the exam. I am confident that what I have written in the answer sheet is correct..
    So please tell me can I get my answer booklet photocopy through RTI..??

    Reply
    • October 27, 2016 at 1:16 PM

      Hi Hema,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I suggest that you go through the process of submitting your application.

      Once you do that you may get your answer booklet.

      Regards,
      Team Internshala

      Reply
  • October 25, 2016 at 5:19 PM

    Hi Sir,
    I need your help for filing RTI. I had applied for a job in central govt office ( Institute of Ayurveda and Homeopathy) but i was not sent any intimation about the written exam through sms or email, and the letter which was sent i received after the exam. I complained about the same to them but they are saying that an email and sms was sent. I check my email on everyday basis and i told them the same and also informed that no sms was sent but they are not ready to listen. Please guide me what shall i do as the job mean a lot to me.

    Reply
    • October 27, 2016 at 1:20 PM

      Hi Sachin,

      I suggest you appeal to them regarding not send the sms & mail on time. Perhaps you can get in touch with a higher authority & appeal to them regarding the same.

      Regards,
      Team Internshala

      Reply

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