[RTI] UPSC explains why it can’t release the answerkey before “entire” examination process is over

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  1. Prologue
  2. UPSC’s petition in Delhi HC
  3. UPSC’s grounds for seeking Relief against CIC’s order
  4. UPSC’s Prayer to Delhi HC


  • Those who have been in this competition business long enough, know that whenever you file RTI to UPSC seeking answerkey for CSAT, IES, IFoS, CDS, CAPF, APFC or any exam, UPSC doesn’t give the answerkey saying “examination process is not yet complete.” And as you’re aware most of these examinations take average 8-11 months to finish.
  • In August 2012, I had filed an RTI seeking answer keys for CSAT 2012 (prelims), UPSC didn’t provide. Finally CIC heard the matter in March 2013, ruled in my favor and ordered UPSC to disclose the answerkey. (Click me for more)
  • UPSC decided to challenge his order in the Delhi High court.
  • After final result for 2012 was out, UPSC willingly disclosed the answerkey but that’s a different story- the issue was to get the answerkey without having to wait for some 11 months until the entire examination process is over.
  • Yesterday (15th July), I received a notice from Delhi HC because UPSC has listed me as respondent. The hearing date is 4th October 2013.
  • It also contains copy of the UPSC writ petition: in which UPSC explains why they don’t release the answerkey before the entire examination process is over. I’m copy pasting that portion here:

UPSC’s petition in Delhi HC

……The Learned Central Information Commissioner (CIC) had issued notice to both the parties and thereafter heard their submission; the contentions and genuine concerns raised by the petitioner (UPSC) to the CIC were neglected and unheard and the Learned CIC was please to pass an order dated 01.03.2013 in favour of the respondent (Mrunal).

It is humbly submitted that the CIC has erroneously allowed the Appeals of the respondent (Mrunal) by way of the non-speaking order without properly appreciating and addressing the contentions, genuine concerns and practical difficulties of the Petitioner (UPSC). In view of this, it would be in the fitness if the decision of the Hon’ble Central Information Commission (CIC) regarding the answer keys for the Preliminary Examination 2012 to be supplied to appellant be challenged in this Hon’ble Court by citing the following grounds:-

UPSC’s grounds Seeking Relief against CIC’s order

  • That the Learned  CIC failed to appreciate that the Petitioner (UPSC) has not denied to disclose the information sought completely rather the Petitioner had informed that once the entire examination process is over the said answer keys will be disclosed to the Respondent (Mrunal). It is submitted that no prejudice shall be caused to the Respondent if the said information is disclosed at the end of the examination process in as much as in any case the answer keys will be relevant to him for the next exam and not the current one.
  • There is no larger public interest involved in insisting on disclosure of the answer keys when the examination process is not yet over. It is however, pertinent to point out that larger public interest demands that the information sought is disclosed only once the entire examination process is over and there is not even the remote possibility of the information seeker to use the said information in any adverse manner so as to stall/ impact/ affect the examination process adversely.
  • That by divulging the information about the preliminary stage of examination before completion of the entire process of Civil Services Examination (all three stages) could adversely affect the entire examination process on account of frivolous objections/representation from the unsuccessful candidates at this intermediary stage.
  • That the impugned order based on the erroneous observation that the preliminary examination is only a qualifying stage having no bearing on the subsequent stages of examination is unfounded in the backdrop that the Rules/notification of the Examination issued by the Government/ Commission considers and treats the entire examination process as one and mentioned as Civil Service Examination which consists of three stages namely 1) Preliminary 2) Main 3) the Personality test.
  • That the Rules/notification of the Examination issued by the Government/ Commission are mentioned as Civil Services Examination consisting of three stages of examination. Therefore, each stage cannot be considered as solitary and each stage cannot be singled out as to point out and put as an end of examination.
  • That the present case pertains to preliminary stage of Civil Services Examination and is considered to be the first stage of the entire examination process as the said examination consists of Preliminary, the Main and the Personality test, thus forming a part of single continuum and are not standalone.
  • That each stage of the Examination is based on certain ratio to be followed so that the unqualified candidates can be eliminated and qualified candidates can be selected from the total number of candidates appeared at each stage.
  • Therefore, the process could be considered as complete only after conducting the interviews and finalization of the list of the candidates recommended by the Commission to be forwarded to the Government.
  • That the unqualified candidates may make use of the information received by them in respect of the answer keys before the entire selection process/ examination process is over and may institute frivolous complaints/ file court cases without any bases and make false and baseless allegations with the sole malafide intention of stalling the entire process midstream and interfere with the discharge of the Constitutional duties of the Commission within a time bound manner.
  • That in I.A No. 1 of 2011 in Special Leave Petition (C) No. 32443 of 2010 passed an order dated 30.09.2011 by the Apex Court whereby it was observed that :

In case, in future the UPSC is faced with any difficulty with regard to supplying information in relation to the examinations, the process of which remains incomplete, it will be open to it to seek appropriate remedies in accordance with law. With the aforesaid observation, IA No.1 stands disposed of.

  • Therefore, the information to be disclosed to the respondent will be appropriate after taking due care and diligence only after the completion of the entire process and declaration of the final results of the Civil Services Examination 2012.
  • That the Petitioner (UPSC) has not filed any other Petition against the impugned order before this Hon’ble Court or any other competent Court.
  • The Petitioner (UPSC) has no other equal efficacious remedy except to file this appeal before this Hon’ble Court against the impugned judgment.

UPSC’s Prayer to Delhi HC

It is, therefore, most respectfully prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to:

  1. Allow the present Petition.
  2. Set aside and quash the impugned order dated 01.03.2013 passed in File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001599 (Right to information Act-Section 19) passed by the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; and/or
  3. Pass an appropriate order(s)/ direction(s) as are deemed fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the present case.


Scanned copy of the notice received from Delhi HC, on 15th July 2013

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162 Comments on “[RTI] UPSC explains why it can’t release the answerkey before “entire” examination process is over”

  1. Questions should be unambiguous; there should be only one clear answer to the question; this is the very definition of objective question paper. If UPSC is not confident of their questions and answers, it points to their shameful incompetence, for which aspirants shouldn’t be penalised.

    To err is human; so the aspirant community should be provided opportunities to point out mistakes in official answer keys; UPSC can exempt disputed answers from evaluation.

    This is the democratic way of doing this. As far as I know, this is followed in GATE exam conducted by IITs.

  2. I don’t think there should be any problem in releasing the answer key. UPSC should emulate the SSC model pertaining to releasing the answer key.

    What they do, they release the answer key of tier 1 exam and then give certain time to the candidates to write to the commission if they have any objection. After that time they do not entertain any request regarding the same.

    By this way problem of frivolous complaints can be rectified.

    1. I am completely agree with the Mr. Abhishek’s view, where there is a neck to neck competition of even point to point marks and the hard work of number of years each aspirant has right to know the official answer key of the UPSC and have the right to object if any injustice has been done to any aspirant of the UPSC.

      Only solution is to give right to resolve the complaint within 1 months after the official answer key is declared and to resolve the grievances of any aspirant of UPSC.

  3. Hello Mrunal and friends,
    I gave my comments here yesterday (almost the same time) through my mobile soon after I saw this article but it did’nt get published… So I’m giving my comment again through another resource.

    I felt what UPSC has claimed is true that if they declare the answer key soon after prelims or after prelims results, there may be candidates who can find an alternate answers and file a petition on the court. This may lead to stalling of entire examination. I am not complaining about those candidates. Given a situation even I will also do that. This is because out of 100 questions 95 will be accepted by all. But there will be those 5 to 6 questions where everyone will have a doubt. This is evident from our mrunal blog’s 2013 prelims question analysis itself where people have different opinion on certain questions and they debate over it. Thus there are chances that a question may have more than one answer and the best answer which we select may not necessarily match with UPSC’s key. And with the recent introduction of decision making questions it will make the situation all the more difficult. Each and everyone have their own answers. Already UPSC exam takes one whole year to complete the process if answers declared earlier it may stretch the exam further (through court stay). Also unlike other public service commission which conducts examinations irregularly like once in every two or three years, UPSC conducts exam regularly i.e. annually. So the point is how to rationally find a solution to it. where on the one hand we need the exam process to happen regularly (so that at least some of us will get through, lead to reduction of unemployment) on the other hand we need answers immediately after exam or pre results to verify with ours to know where we stand or what went wrong or at least to get that satisfaction that I am not up to the mark this time and concentrate on the next attempt. Need more thoughts.! Comments are welcome…

    1. Dear AHMAD,
      I agree with you fully…….Just learn from State PSC everyone will find answer urself…..cause for delay 1-2 year every time.

    2. Dear,
      AVOID asking those 5 to 6 questions where everyone will have a doubt.Its my last attempt as i already spent 4 years ..why i think about others!!If i have doubt to whom can i ask?

      1. Hello rajesh, please read my comment fully. My intention is not to stall the process of exam rather to find an answer rationally.

        1. I agree with Ahamed bcoz I attended the interview of APPSC Group 1 exam in February this year. But the results were stayed by High Court bcoz of the wrong key given by Commission for prelims. Me along with 600 aspirants are anxiously waiting for when this stay will be vacated.

          1. Process should be made faster ! An aspirant’s fate will be decided with even a single count of mark. In case the court stalls the process,the judicial process should be made speedy. A seperate fast track court should be set up lonely to deal with upsc cases in a time bound manner.
            Attemtps are limited !!! To err is human , but there are lakhs of aspirants, who may not make up to the mark just because of these correctable mistakes.

    3. Totally agree with you.

    4. You are admitting that UPSC has the habit of putting abstract questions in Prelims for which there is no absolute or best answer. Then how can UPSC decide the fate of students on the basis of such questions? You are claiming that the whole process is itself arbitrary rather than being unintentional fault of UPSC. If someone points such absurdity through an RTI, rather than correcting the wrong done, why is UPSC in denial mode. Article 14 of the constitution itself says that no one can be discriminated arbitrarily except on reasonable grounds. Think before you come to speak like this against someone who has been trying to use to power of RTI to make things more rational, reasonable and transparent.

  4. Hi Mrunal,

    As of now I have been a silent follower and admirer of you blog. This time I couldn’t resist being so. Though I appreciate your effort and cause still I hope UPSC wins. Informally speaking, there is a high chance that selection process would be delayed/stalled once they are made to declare answer keys midway. (unsuccessful) candidates will leave no stone unturned approaching court and getting stay order citing many (ir)relevant reasons. As far as larger public interest is concerned, I would like to add that there is even bigger interest involved once the final recommended list comes out after 1/2/3 years. Technically speaking, those, who think their fate have been changed due to some particular wrong answer keys, will always have the chance to approach court once keys are made public by UPSC. And yes, These are three stages of one selection process and hence this entire process should be considered atomic in nature.

  5. hello sir,

    sir i have submitted the FCI form but forgot to self attest the photocopies of my documents.
    so i want to know that will my form get rejected? and whether anything can be done about it?
    please let me know what to do.
    thank you.

  6. Mrunal sir please come up with an article on IB ACIO exam 2013, how to prepare and all.

    1. There is a three word sentence and a box at the northwest corner of the homepage that says ” SEARCH B4 ASKING”

  7. I think there may be a middle path between two options:
    Option 1: UPSC doesn’t disclose marks and answerkeys before declaration of results. Status quo maintained, but quite many students dis-satisifed who have to wait for one long year to know what went wrong.
    Option 2: UPSC declares answer keys, marks and cut-offs a month after prelims… litigations and disruptions may result….

    Middle path: UPSC may declare marks of candidates+cut offs along with prelims result. Serious candidates would already’ve known their approximate score through reliable sources, hence a slight variation of say, 3~5% wouldn’t matter. At least the big variations, which may cause a genuine candidate to be rejected will come to limelight. Any claims would thereby be candidate-specific and not disruptive of the exam process.

  8. I fully support you Mrunal Bhai,

    It seems a bunch of selfish people ( most of the selfish people are Group One Officers, be proud of yourself ) have stood against the very historical stand taken by Mrunal. They are even coming with the dull arguments of delaying process, frivolous complaints blah blah… Let it be in the hand of the constitutional body and its servant as how they are going to handle the frivolous complaints and deliver the timely result.

    Moreover what about the person who is going to suicide just because he could not understand as why he was rejected though he ticked enough questions to get a clear ahead.

    Most of the UPSC friends are not going into technicalities rather they are confining themselves with the very sour history of complaints reaching Courts !!

    Suppose I gave the Pre Exam and I am very happy with my performance and check the last year cutoff and i say myself is baar to nikal jayega …after somedays UPSC announces result and I fail ! And suppose UPSC provides me my OMR sheet, answer key and cutoff marks, which tells me that I failed because of 1 mark. NOW tell me why would I file frivolous complain and what I will ask the UPSC about my result ? Yes, If I am getting more marks than the cutoff, I WILL file a GENUINE complaint and will ask the commission to provide me what mine is.

    Let us suppose If someone fails by 1 mark and he is mentally retarded and decides to drag the Commission to the court, the Commission can make a provision for a high penalty for this frivolous complaint.

    ISRO too supplies the candidates their marks, cutoff marks before they arrange interview. This year they also asked for suggestion for the wrong questions that they printed on question paper, because they know their Organisation belong to scientists not to the God and they can make a mistake !

    I think people here need to understand all the aspects of the situation, examine each and every point of view and free themselves from the slavery of selfishness…

    1. Ajatsharu sir has a good point every OMR sheet must have carbon copy which has to be retained by the candidate so that after every release of official answer key if any grievances is there by the candidate he or she should inform commission within stipulated time limit and solve there problems.

      I pray to all the current aspirants who may become the chairman or member of UPSC in future please try to solve the problems which we are facing right now in the context of official secrecy or completion of process or any other frivolous excuses given by commission to hide the truth where the future of young blood is at stake.

  9. It’s great to see various viewpoints on both sides, this definitely helps one build a comprehensive outlook.

    Whether we agree or disagree with UPSC’ petition, the questions posed by Mrunal are definitely relevant and the judgement will be significant for all aspirants.

    Mrunal, we appreciate your spirit and quest for answers irrespective of the outcome.

    Kindly let us know if you require any support in terms of research, analysis, suggestions, monetary etc

    I would request everyone to go through UPSC’s petition and post suggestions, arguments, cases, examples relevant to the petition and help Mrunal prepare for October hearing.

    Please note that I am not asking anyone to take sides.

  10. UPSC should disclose Prelims examination answer keys and cut-off marks with the result of Prelims examination.There is no harm to disclose the answers and cut-off marks.

  11. dear frnds, instead of getting into all the controversies about rti and all, just focus on yr studies and u will a gud result…

    1. but yar last month ssc cgl result is wrong when rti is good for student

  12. Mrunal sir jpsc ke liye kuch guidance dijiye,,last date change ho gaya hai

  13. **URGENT** **URGENT** **URGENT**

    Hello Mrunal Sir,

    Could you please help? I have my Examination of Jharkhand high Court for the post of Cashier on 4th of August.

    Can you provide previous year question or some kind of tips to do well in exam.
    My email id: [email protected]

  14. In addition of the above comments, I also would like to argue one point that ” the demand to set aside the CIC order is unconstitutional, it violates article 14 which provides the right of ligitimate expectation in the umbrella of right to equality, article 19 (1)(a) freedom of expression because the upsc extinguish the right to react if it wrong in the exam because the entire prosses has been completed, which become useless to know the information without expression specially in democratic country like india.
    Also there are various service commissions implementiong the trasparent pattern like maharashtra public service commission.

  15. SC has said in its earlier judgments that we have full faith in UPSC and friends i know we also do.
    does that mean we cannot question it or try to me make it more accountable.
    RTI is a tool to get information and information is useful only when required

  16. can anyone pls explain how “increasing msf rate will calm down the volatility of rupee” ?

    1. MSF is that rate on which bank take loans from RBI for short term period.there is so much liquidity in the market.In order to curb that liquidity RBI announced to sell G-Sec Bond worth 12,000 crore.By Increasing the MSF Rate bank has to give more interest rate to RBI for a short period of time and so in turn the liquidity in the market decreased because do not have much amount to give loans to borrowers so they inturn cannot invent somwhere like Gold or real estate…there is a chances of decreasing the Inflaion

      Thats what i know at my end

      1. up to “the liquidity in market decreased …” you went right. but further… the main purpose of sucking out the rupees was not what you have mentioned. actually banks are huge players of forward currency market (forward exchange market) where they are speculating on exchange rate of USD and rupee with bearish outlook or expecting depreciation. this causes weakening of rupees again. so to check availability of money for speculation on exchange rate, RBI took this step.

    2. increasing MSF rate would discourage commercial banks from borrowing more…..so less money in the market…less money means costlier money (things which is scarce gets costlier) so its rate vs $ would go up……
      MSF is like emergency quota…banks can borrow like repo rate only but at higher interest rate…so they use this facility when there is credit crunch. Read this, i found this useful
      MSF http://www.erewise.com/current-affairs/rbi-increases-marginal-standing-facility-rate_3597_art51e54062ee540.html

  17. Hi,
    This is absurd to say that “unsuccessful candidates will stall the process midway”. the UPSC is suppose to be the top most selection commission. In order to make tricky and make the level of exam falsly difficult, Now a days questions in prelims and their answers options are deliberately made confusing so that more than one option can be correct. So UPSC is fearing that their exam paper team will get caught without pants. They need to ask difficult question but in order to artifically made exam difficult what is the point in giving confusing questions and even more confusing answers. this is the root cause why UPSC is scared that their incompetence and failure will get exposed. Because if more than one option for a question stands correct with proper logic, so UPSC has to give makrs for both options like other state level PSC do so currently; which will be very shameful and disrespecting like ‘chewing your own boot’ for UPSC.
    Afterall UPSC is nurturing incompetent talent hunt. Look for last 40 years they have only produced ever corrupt IAS and IPS officers. There is no denial about the same. Why UPSC is scared to embrace transparency ? It is said that is some on is honest they will have answer to all questions and will humbly accepts mistake without any ego. But UPSC since it is a so called ‘constitutional’ body, can not accept any mistake, since they are constitutional and are 100% correct. UPSC and people running UPSC are 100% dishonest for sure that is why they approached high court.

    1. good arguements…

    2. Seems,grapes are sour…….Why such frustration? Which field doesn’t consist a corrupt? Yes,UPSC should be more transparent,but it doesn’t mean that they are incompetent….

  18. Ok tell me that I appear in prelims of 2013 and my name is not on the list of candidates selected in prelims. there is a possibility that my paper answer-sheet might have got torn, or not even evaluated for any reason whatsoever. Is there any assurance for that my answer sheet was examined. I will never know that till exam process is over in 2014. WOW.

    1. Why such extreme negative feeling that your answer sheet might have got torn or not evaluated at all? If one has fared very well in the exam,such things should not come into mind……In this exam,excuses and counter-excuses would not do.

      1. True that excuses do not work, but the exam has been more like a speed test, has increased ambiguity, and on the contrary has increased the importance of coaching centers as previously at least in prelims students were able to take care of their optional now had to attend classes to know how to read comprehension fast,how to compute fast, coaching has been must. Though I am in the list of 2013 successful candidates, i know my friends who are conceptually far clear and analytic and have good command over mains have not cleared even pre.

  19. Mrunal Sir,

    I wants to file a RTI against LIC,so that i would know about my marks in each section and total in aggregrate and the cut off to.But dont know how to file RTI.I am very grateful to you if u spare some time and guide me that how can i file RTI

    1. Go to the website of LIC, find the name and address of the PIO Or CPIO.
      Look for rti format on net.
      Ask question like, how much marks awarded to you, copy of OMR sheet or software response whatever used for evaluation, , copy of question asked to you, key to the questions, (do not forget to mention your details as printed on the admit card).
      Ask them for cutoff category wise, how many candidates qualified, how many appeared, what is the weight age given to each stage etc.

      I even know this Payal, You are not going to ask any question as you are not going to file any rti, because you kind of people expect someone else to do the job for you.

    2. Send by post (preferably by Speed Post) an application on plain paper in the name of PIO,(Name of Examining Authority)which must clearly state your queries,plus a postal order of Rs. 10 /- favouring PIO,Name of Examining Authority.payable at the place of headquarter of examining authority.It goes without saying that the letter should be addressed to the concerned examining authority.

  20. I have following comments to make on this case between Mrunal and UPSC:

    1. Transparency and efficiency are two highly desirable traits for any organisation, govt or private. By taking this current stance, UPSC is clearly averse to being transparent. It is also fearing an attack on its efficiency once it discloses answer keys.

    2. “No larger public interest is involved”, claims UPSC. Mrunal bhai, please consider this argument. Public interest lies here: Once answer keys are disclosed immediately after prelim result, a candidate can cross check his performance. Yes, he will not know the cut off but he can always evaluate his strengths and weaknesses. Based on his score, he can also consider his future strategy. Because let us not forget, those who fail to clear prelims are left with plenty of self doubt and confused on where all to improve. They have a full one unproductive year to themselves. Answer keys will help him devise his strategy even better so he is better prepared for next year. In short, HE WILL KNOW WHERE HE STANDS IN THIS OCEAN OF COMPETITION AND HOW HE CAN IMPROVE HIS PERFORMANCE. He can also concentrate on other exams simultaneously if he gets to know that he has a low score based on answer keys released by UPSC.

    3. Now something about UPSC: Yes, the commission is correct that it will lead to frivolous litigations. Most often than not, be it PCS exams or others, such litigations are filed by those disgruntled lot who fail to make the cut just by one or two marks. And there are many such people near the final cut off, say around 10,000 candidates in case of UPSC who are just one or two marks below the cut off. Now when they find that there are some controversial questions/ answers asked by UPSC, they will have all the motivation to challenge them in the Court so that they are also accommodated. This is bound to be the case year after year, and hence there will be litigations and counter litigations. You can take the case of Haryana PCS exams this year. Same thing happened in Prelims 2011. Secondly, such litigations can also be prompted by unethical lawyers who make a healthy living from such matters. So even if one person files a complaint challenging the question or the answer key, it will be detrimental to interests of those 5000 odd candidates selected in prelims.

    4. UPSC is likely to take the following stand: If there is a delay in conducting Civil services exam, the schedule of all other exams is also likely to be affected as UPSC conducts recruitment for various other Class-I exams.

    5. Mrunal bhai, please raise this point as well on efficiency of UPSC: When other state PCS declare prelim result in a week or 10 days, like Haryana, why can’t UPSC do the same! Infact, now optionals have been removed so there is no need for any scaling. Why so much delay? Yes, litigations will delay the Civil service exams, but the answer to this lies in speeding up the exam process. Why they need one full year to conduct the exam is not rational. If they can speed up the result time, it will help candidates a lot in deciding their career choices.

    6. Transparency is the need of the hour else it will always remain a shot in the dark for aspirants. If selected, you are successful, if not, one is branded unsuccessful. We do have the right to know why we did not make it and how we can improve ourselves!!!

    7. Civil Service exam India is still based on the archaic-colonial structure under the British rule. It is the highest level of exam in the country and its recruitment has to be 100% transparent. All other things/ exams can wait!!! Why cannot UPSC create a separate wing which only handles CSE related matters. Even today, UPSC’s inquiry counter remains one of the most unresponsive ones in the country with a clerk sitting with no knowledge on anything. He is there only to deflect any questions, but not for solutions.

    8. The very concept of RTI is under the scanner with this case as there seems to be no coordination between two govt departments (CIC and UPSC). UPSC is no defence department or ministry, working of which cannot be brought to public disclosure. Our future is dependent on this exam, so we have every right to know about how it works. It is our right under RIGHT TO WORK.

    Hope i made some sense.

  21. 1. The RTI Act does not give the liberty to any Public Authority to come out with any such timeframe. The UPSC cannot violate the sanctity of the RTI Act. They cannot arbitrarily decide whether they will disclose information immediately or after 10 months. So, the claim that they have merely asked the appellant to wait, is null and void.
    UPSC often cites the Section 8 (1) (d) of the RTI Act to deny information; which itself is laughable. The CIC has in the past, refused to accept the applicability of this clause in such cases.

    2. There is very obvious public interest involved. As we have seen in the past, many kinds of discrepancies and frauds have come to light in conducting recruitment examinations, so why UPSC should be considered sacrosanct or infallible? They have to be transparent. What if there are indeed any discrepancies in the answer keys or results.
    They are treating the completion of the examination as some sacrosanct activity and what about the rights of a candidate to be a given a fair chance.
    Every candidate has a right to know as to why he/she was rejected/eliminated.

    3. The frivolous objections claim is itself frivolous. (As observed earlier by the CIC in its order in the case of Shipra Sud in March, 2012). It’s as if a candidate will approach the courts and the courts will grant stays without going into the legitimacy of those objections. If the grounds of objection are found satisfactory by the courts, then definitely you cannot take away a candidate’s right to a fair chance. Mere completion of the examination process is not required, it also needs to be fair/transparent.

    4. The UPSC is contradicting its own notification. As per the notification the Examination consists of two stages and not three. The very first page of notification says it explicitly. Guess they forgot to even read their own notification.
    Besides, the observation of CIC is on practical grounds. Merely because UPSC/DoPT write something in their notification it doesn’t become the gospel truth. Preliminary, in deed, is a mere qualifying/screening test having no bearing on the subsequent stages.

    5. Each stage can be treated singularly, because, for those who are eliminated, the examination process ends there and then, and they have every right to demand information as to why they were rejected.

    6. Most importantly, other recruitment authorities [like the RPSC, SSC] are going even to the extent of disclosing raw answer keys and inviting objections. They are at least respecting the laws of natural justice. And rather than delaying/stalling the process, they are actually finishing any possibility of future litigation there and then. Thereby ensuring a smooth completion of the entire process.
    [Cannot confirm, but, I have been told that certain agencies are even giving a copy of OMR sheets right in the examination hall with the question paper. So, there are no future RTI applications for the OMR sheets.]

    “Transparency and accountability has to be ensured by every Public Authority in the Republic of India, no matter how good/bad its track record has been. Period.”

    1. Please correct the typographical error in my comment. Please replace “has” with “have” in the sentence – “Transparency and accountability has to be….”

  22. Congratulations Mrunal Sir,
    Atleast now the UPSC is showing its true colours and is progressing towards reform. As it appears, Commission seems to have its legs(functioning aspect of commission) fixed in 20th century and its head(international standards of question paper) peeped into 21st century. It’s double standards are visible. It doesn’t want to reform, upgrade and modify itself,according to changing times,needs & aspirations of the candidates, but expects to select candidates of high caliber and international standards. All major international exams like GMAT,GRE, TOEFL, etc display answer key & cutoffs instantaneously once the test is over, i.e within minutes. However since UPSC Prelims is paper based test, it is its bounden duty to release answer key, marks obtained & cut-off marks and the result(it takes two and half months for Commission after prelims to declare result)
    This brings about transparency, authenticity to the exam process. Candidates can judge themselves and improve accordingly. No serious candidate will raise objections or go to court without a strong & valid reason.
    1) Commission should release the answer key before one month of the declaration of Prelims result, i.e immediately after the prelims exam. Any discrepancies, objections, queries can be taken up by commission in a democratic way within fixed time period(may be 15 days) and resolved. Finally the result with cutoffs will be declared. Thus no one can object later and no court cases can be filed.
    2) Commission may provide online access of OMR answer scripts through UPSC website to candidates who want to check & verify their answer scripts. (Since commission has to scan every OMR sheet in order to evaluate it, it possesses digital OMR copy in its database). This will reduce frivolous complaints and baseless allegations.
    No candidate is so deranged so as to interrupt the examination process. However commission may put stringent conditions like financial penalties, etc to discourage, curb & deal with frivolous, false complaints.
    Advantages of Transparency:
    1) Candidate gets to evaluate himself genuinely. If he finds there is unbridgeable gap between his talent and UPSC’s expectations, he would search for other career opportunities. This would save his precious time, financial resources, energy,etc
    2) Candidate can save wasteful expenditure on coaching for mains exam, relocation to cities, rental expenses, purchasing books, etc. This would save precious youthful years of lakhs of INDIAN CITIZENS who are supposed to build strong & resilient FUTURE INDIA.
    Rigidity,lack of vision, moribund nature and apathy by the UPSC has turned to be curse on lakhs of candidates who end up wasting minimum of 1.5 years & huge amounts(lakhs of rupees), just to know that they are not up to the Commission’s expectations. This turns out to be a NATIONAL WASTAGE OF HUMAN RESOURCES, which defeats the very purpose for which the commission is setup, i.e to promote & select best talent for the country’s requirements.

  23. any one preparing for IFoS with geology as optional

  24. frnds , what is automatic route in fdi – any investing foreign company need not any aproval from gov. for fdi .or anything else ?

    1. It means you( a foreign company ) do not need to take permission or clearance from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board or the FIPB (a specially formed board of secretaries to the Government of India ). This board considers various aspects( security , macro economic ,financial , bilateral issues etc.) arising out of your investing in India . But if you are allowed to invest under the Automatic Route then you just have to notify the RBI ( the authorized agency to oversee the FEMA Act 1999 . As you are bringing in some foreign exchange and you will or are expected to take profit and principal amount , after some years down the line , out of this country (India) it is necessary for the RBI to take note of your this act as you are creating a liability -though a good one- on this country .

    i am a regular reader of your website and found it very useful,thanks for providing such a good and useful website
    sir i leave my job and i am preparing for bank PO exam(so that after securing my future i will give UPPCS exam) but i have not scored 60% in my graduation,and IBPS made a eligibility criteria 60% from now,also i crossed 28 years this july m not eligible for clerk and other bank exam…….
    so sir i just want to know whether this decision of IBPS is right and can it be challenged in court?????????????
    anyone challenged it or not ??????????????

  26. great work sir..u r the real guide for the youth of aspiring India..

  27. what is ” debt market” & government debt securities ?

    1. Debt securities = treasury bills+ bonds + DEBENTURES + CD + CP etc.

      Treasury bonds + Long term bonds of Union government and state governments ( but not local governments )= government debt securities . Governments take recourse to this route either when there is an actual fiscal( current account+ capital account ) deficit OR when the tax collection cycle has not kept pace with the expenditure cycle of governments .

      Companies ( including banks AND national and international financial institution like World Bank and ADB etc. )or firms do the same when faced with similar situations as written above .

      Thus now we have governments debt securities and corporate’s debt securities . Where these securities are bought and sold is the debt market .They may be sold OTC , by Primary dealers , on Stock Exchanges,through private placements etc.

  28. Irrelevant defence by upsc…

  29. Mrunal sir ,
    Plz post an article regarding recent Rbi’s action to curb liqidity and rupee downslide.and the mutual fund issue.

  30. Hi

    I would like to raise an important point, where UPSC has committed serious mistake in Civil Service Exam 2011 (Preliminary) Paper-1.
    In this paper, refer to question no: 11 of A series. (http://upsc.gov.in/questionpaper/2011/CSP2011/GS_PAPER_I.pdf)

    According to UPSC, the correct answer is OPTION D. (http://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-es06dW206KA/UFREjMYrLLI/AAAAAAAAAM4/6e1JF2HSPr0/s0/CSAT%2525202011%252520Official%252520UPSC%252520Answerkey5.gif)

    But everyone knows, and I am sure High Court also knows, that District planning Committees were established through 74th Constitutional Amendment Act. But UPSC thinks it is through 73rd.

    This is a proof that, UPSC do commit mistakes. Many genuine candidate might have disqualified because of this.

    So to assume that students always file frivolous claims is false. They may be genuine many times. Hence, there should be an option to challenge UPSC key answers. For this, key answers has to come, as soon as the each stage of exam is over, and not necessarily wait till all process is over.

  31. Basically UPSC do lot of wrong things that is why it fears to disclose key answers or evaluated answersheets of candidates. If it is fair then why is it opaque. Something is rotten there which Commission wants to hide.People should come forward and start a movement against it. Only persistent move will set the commission on right path.

  32. Dear sir ,The recruitment of junior administrative assistant of assam secretariat held on17th march2013 where the govt of assam had commissioned the Assam Institute of Management,a private institute to design and adminster the selection process.Now,after the written results were announced,I want to file an rti seeking my score and some other infomations.but I don’t know to whom I should address the rti-the PIO of Assam Secretariat or Assam Institute of management.please help me out .Regards Manash Baruah,Nagaon,Assam

  33. This is wrong step taken by UPSC. Let me give example of Maharashtra Public Service Commission. It publishes answer key of each examination, conducted by it, within one week. Then it asks to submit queries related to answer key. And then it come with final answer key. After that result of that particular exam. is declared. All this procedures are completed within time bound manner. So there are less chances of frivolous litigations.
    Second thing, if UPSC is arguing that publishing key is not in public interest then all mrunal’s readers & their friends can give their support, which can be used in court to prove it is in public interest.

  34. Guyss… Help me…. When result is going to come …
    Any genuine information, if any plz do post that….

  35. The following points could be used for filing counter-affidavit before the court:

    a. UPSC has taken a plea before the Hon’ble Court that it had not denied to disclose the information sought completely rather it had informed that once the entire examination process is over the said answer keys will be disclosed. This plea is totally against the scheme of the RTI Act. Once the information is sought for and when it does not fall under any of the exemption categories provided under Sections 8 and 9 of the RTI Act, UPSC has to disclose the information within the statutory mandatory 30 days. It has no business to say that information could be given only after the completion of all the stages of the Civil Services selection process. There is no provision available to the UPSC under RTI Act to take such plea. In fact, withholding non-exempted readily available information beyond 30 days is a clear violation of RTI Act and is liable for levy of penalty.

    b. UPSC further states “no prejudice shall be caused to the Respondent if the said information is disclosed at the end of the examination process in as much as in any case the answer keys will be relevant to him for the next exam and not the current one”. None of the provisions of the RTI Act has mandated the UPSC to go into the relevancy of the information to the information-seeker. As per the provisions of the RTI Act, the UPSC has no business to go into the purpose for the information-seeker. In as much as the information sought for does not fall under any of the exempted categories, the UPSC has to furnish the information within the statutory 30 days time.

    c. Under the RTI Act, 2005, information can be denied only when it falls under any one of the clauses given in Section 8. The UPSC, while stating that ‘the process of Civil Services Examination is not yet complete’, has not quoted any clause under Section 8. Under S 8(1)(h), only when there is a process of criminal investigation pending and if divulging information at that stage is going to affect that process of investigation, the information could be denied. Thus, it can be seen from that Section, for Civil Services Examinations, none of the exceptions provided under S 8 could be invoked. Civil Services Examination cannot be equated to Criminal Investigation! There is no clause under S 8 under which information could be with-held even if the entire process of Civil Services Examination is not yet over. Hence, this ground taken by the UPSC to deny the information is entirely invalid in the eyes of law. It is evident from the above that the UPSC has denied information without any sanction of law.

    d. UPSC argues “There is no larger public interest involved in insisting on disclosure of the answer keys”. Involvement of larger public interest is irrelevant here. Only when Third Party’s personal / private information is called for from a public authority, then only involvement of larger public interest is to be looked into. Here, mrunal is asking for the answer keys for preliminary examination. It is not third party’s personal / private information. As per Section 8 of the RTI Act, personal / private information should not be divulged; the Act says even here, the personal / private information can be divulged if larger public interest is involved, even if the third party objects to it. In asking keys, there is no personal / private / third party information involved. Hence, invoking “larger public interest” concept is totally wrong on the part of the UPSC.

    e. The Civil Services Examination consists of 3 stages namely:
    i. Preliminary Examination
    ii. Main Examination and
    iii. Interview
    The preliminary examination was only a screening test. Around 12 to 13 times of the vacancy position, the candidates of the Preliminary Examination are allowed to write the Main Examination. Around 2 times of the vacancy position, the candidates of the Main Examination are allowed to appear for the Interview. From the Interview, exactly matching the number of vacancies, the candidates are chosen for allotment to various Services. For final merit rank list to allot Services, the marks of Main Examination and Interview alone are taken into account. Marks scored in Preliminary Examination are never accounted for the final merit list. Even if it is taken that the entire process of Civil Services Examination is not over, there is no sanction of law (RTI Act) to deny information on that ground; no clause under S 8 empowers the authorities to withhold the information of answer keys as soon as the Preliminary exam is over on the ground that the further stages of the process of Civil Services Examination are not yet complete. Thus, it can be seen that the UPSC denied information about Civil Services Preliminary Examination without the sanction of law. Denial of information by UPSC has no mandate of law.

    f. UPSC has pleaded that the unqualified candidates may institute frivolous complaints/ file court cases without any bases and make false and baseless allegations with the sole malafide intention of stalling the entire process midstream and interfere with the discharge of the Constitutional duties of the Commission within a time bound manner. This is not one of the grounds on which exemption could be claimed under any of the provisions of S 8 of the RTI Act. UPSC can claim exemption only when it is provided so in the Act. It cannot claim exemption based on its own logic / surmises / conjectures / unfounded fears. This plea clearly shows that the apex recruiting body of this nation – UPSC does not have faith on its own system of conducting examinations for recruiting officers for the highest bureaucratic positions! This plea also shows that UPSC does not have faith on the Honourable Judicial Courts of this nation in disposing of the cases! Conducting the examination in any way is not by itself amount to discharge of Constitutional duties; conducting the examination without transparency and fairness defeats the Constitution! Inconvenience or unworkability were no grounds to deny information.

    g. The decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 9th August 2011 allowed the disclosure, under the Right to Information Act, of answer sheets of students of any examination conducted by any agency in India. The decision of the Supreme Court is the law of the land in India and is binding on everyone in India. (The citation of the judgment is not readily available.)

    h. Judgment of the Hon’ble Calcutta High Court in the case of University of Calcutta and Ors.v. Pritam Rooj, AIR 2009 Cal 97 discussed the contention that the production of answer sheets were against the finality attached with a public examination; the Court said that inconvenience or unworkability were no grounds to deny information once the answer scripts came within the ambit of ‘information’; denial was only allowed under the exceptions provided for under Section 8, and these did not fall within those categories. The Bench thus ordered the Respondents in that case to produce the answer scripts. On further appeal, the Supreme Court has also upheld the decision of the High Court.

    i. In an earlier case, for Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2006, raw marks, cut-off marks in subjects, the scaling procedure and answers for different subjects were sought for under RTI Act by a group of candidates. The CPIO of UPSC had denied them by invoking S 8(1)(d). On appeal, CIC directed UPSC on November 13, 2006, to divulge all information, over-ruling all the arguments of the UPSC. It may be noted here that even before the completion of the process of Civil Services Examination 2006, the CIC had directed to divulge these information regarding the Preliminary Examination 2006 which was complete. UPSC challenged this order of CIC in the Delhi High court. Delhi High Court had also directed the UPSC to divulge all the information. HON’BLE MR JUSTICE BADAR DURREZ AHMED of the jurisdictional Delhi High Court has categorically stated in his judgment “These marks, which have been obtained by the candidates who appeared in the Civil Services (Preliminary) Examinations, are not to be counted for the final selection which would be based entirely on the Main Examination and the interview to follow. Therefore, I see no harm in the disclosure of the marks, as directed by the Central Information Commission”. [Emphasis Supplied.] The Hon’ble Judge in his decision had further ruled “Candidates have the right to know where they went wrong.” [Emphasis supplied.] The Hon’ble Justice had also ruled in his decision “the UPSC being a public body is required to act and conduct itself in a fair and transparent manner. It would also be in public interest that this fairness and transparency is displayed by the revealing of the information sought.” [Emphasis supplied.] This Jurisdictional High court’s decision is binding on the UPSC. UPSC further filed an appeal against this order to Supreme Court. Vide its Order delivered on 18.11.2010, the Hon’ble Supreme Court also directed the UPSC to divulge all information to the candidates, when sought for under the RTI Act, 2005. It may be noted that even when the patented scaling process was in vogue, the CIC, Delhi High Court and Supreme Court have directed the UPSC to divulge all these information. Now that there is no such scaling process, it would be all the most, simplest duty for the UPSC to furnish the information when sought for under the RTI Act. The decisions of the jurisdictional Delhi High Court and Hon’ble Supreme Court are squarely binding on the UPSC.

    j. It is disheartening to see that the independent Constitutional body – UPSC, entrusted with the duty of recruiting the highest Officers of the nation, has shown scant respect to the decisions of the higher courts of the land. In spite of settled decisions, if a citizen is made to go through the appeal processes, it is nothing but utter harassment of the ordinary citizens. It is not only waste of money for the citizens but also a loss to the public exchequer on the part of the UPSC making expenses on appeal in spite of the clear-cut settled decisions available before it. The expenses incurred by the UPSC on such appeals in spite of the settled decisions of courts are liable to be questioned by the CAG and the officers of UPSC who authorized such frivolous appeals are liable for disciplinary proceedings for non-compliance of the laws of the land and also for the wasteful expenditure. They are also liable for contempt proceedings of the courts. The CPIO of UPSC is also liable for levy of penalty under the RTI Act.

    k. It is necessary for every public authority to disseminate the information as per Section 4 of the RTI Act on its own without anybody asking for them. In order to maintain the transparency, it is the duty of the UPSC to upload in its website, the question papers, keys, marks obtained by each candidate and the cut off as soon as every examination is over every stage-wise on its own suo moto as per the mandate given u/s 4 of the RTI Act. It is surprising that even after asking for them specifically u/s 6(1), the UPSC denies the information.

    l. In the present age of Information Revolution, the data space on the net is not an issue at all and is only a few clicks away. All it requires is the will on the part of the UPSC to uphold the Principle of Transparency enshrined in the RTI Act.

    m. Final Rank List after the Main Examination(with Interview) would be published by the UPSC only around April-May. The next Civil Services Preliminary Examination would be held around May-June of that year (of course 2014 preliminary exam is to be held on 24th August). The time gap between them would, many a times, be hardly a week. If the information sought for is given only in that time gap, it will render the provisions of RTI Act redundant as it would hardly be of any use for the information seeker. Justice delayed is justice denied. In spite of the RTI Act, the candidate is stripped of his Right to Know.

    n. The Hon’ble Court may be pleased to direct UPSC to upload in its website, the question papers, keys, marks obtained by each candidate and the cut off as soon as every examination is over every stage-wise on its own suo moto in order to achieve the prime objective of the RTI Act, i.e. TRANSPARENCY as enshrined in its Preamble. This will go a long way in sparing the public invoking RTI Act to get routine information from UPSC.

    o. As soon as the Preliminary examination is over, in the same day evening, say by 6 pm. before the candidates reach their homes from exam halls, the UPSC should upload the question paper and the answer keys on its website. It should also invite opinions from the general public on the keys to be submitted within 15 days. UPSC can form a committee of 5 eminent persons to go through such opinions; the committee can give opportunity of being heard to the persons who set the questions / Answer keys; the committee should complete its process within next 15 days from the last date fixed for receipt of opinions from the public. By a rule framed under Constitution, the decisions arrived at by the Committee may be made final and Government may bar the jurisdiction of courts on such decisions arrived at by the Committee. UPSC can publish the Prelims results on the 31st day after the conduct of the Preliminary exam with the final key used for evaluation, marks obtained by each candidate and cut off marks in its website; candidates could be given the option of downloading their OMR answer sheet if they need.

    p. RPSC, SSC, GMAT, GRE, TOEFL, NCERT(while conducting NTSE), etc. publish the answer keys at the earliest. The apex recruitment agency of the land, being UPSC, may well learn from them. If the apex recruitment agency itself does not follow the provisions of the RTI Act; does not comply with the decisions of the jurisdictional High Court and Apex Court; does not follow the principles of transparency and accountability and does not abide by the principles of natural justice and fair play, how can it expect the Officers recruited by it to follow all these?!

    1. vivek i am impressed with your work as stated above

    2. I liked the way Vivek put up the response to UPSC challenging CIC’s order

  36. sir
    i have filed rti(upsc) for my nda(1)2013 result but the reply was as usual that final result is incomplete but i didnt gave up and waited for the final result and now the final result is published by upsc and i have again requested upsc for photocopies of my omr(s) and answer keys now i want to know that will i recieve proper reply from upsc, this time.
    please reply to my question.
    thank you

  37. I am disheartened that some are taking the UPSC view correct just on the basis of the argument that some aspirants can stall the examination process by filling misleading or incorrect cases and suspending the whole process.

    1. Even if any one aspirant makes it to the Interview Stage after some incorrect answer keys were used to evaluate the OMR’s then how much will it be correct to recruit such candidates on the basis of these marks and leave out the candidates at the prelims stage only who have answered correctly……just for the sake of preventing stalling of Examination process…Then I think its better not to conduct such exams.

    2.The UPSC does not make the question paper overnight. The Answer Keys can well be released on the next day or in two. As Civil Services (Prelims) 2013 was held on 26 May 2013 and results were disclosed in and around second week of August 2013………..An answer key released on 27,28 or even 29 MAY 2013 can prevent even UPSC to make use of incorrect answer keys as all the enthusiastic aspirants will at most take not more than a month to point out any mistakes in the answer keys……As there are no such rules stating the minimum time interval between MAINS and Prelims result….so the result can well be delayed by a month without changing the MAINS date……..of course after looking at answer keys and difficulty level one may ascertain if he/she can make it to the mains or not…..and i believe there is no true aspirant who wait for the Prelims result to prepare for the MAINS.

    3. It does surprise me that when IITs disclose the OMR sheets for personal viewing before the results are declared then why cannot the UPSC where in IIT GATE there are around 9 lakhs examinees and in IIT JEE around 4 lakhs but in UPSC merely 2 lakhs………More over these results are declared within 25 days of the exam and very often IITs give marks to all candidates for questions which are of ambiguous or abstract nature….I don’t know about the quality of OMR checking machine the UPSC is having as compared to IITs.

    Finally it takes me not a second to cast doubt on UPSC that there may be candidates entering from the backdoor……..there are already those IAS officers sitting in the UPSC who themselves have made it to that position with such a system in place…. no body knows that how much is it true that sons or daughters of ex-civil servants are intelligent enough to crack the exam as their ancestors have done…..or is it really a BACKDOOR OPEN FOR YOU……

  38. Sir,
    What was the final judgement of Delhi High Court regarding your RTI File No. CIC/SM/A/2012/001599?
    Please let me know.

    Indrajit Konar

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