[RTI] Seeking OMR answersheets from UPSC: CSAT-2012 failed candidates, How to file appeal against CPIO’s order to FAA

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  1. Introduction
    1. Stage 1: Central Public Information Officer (CPIO)
    2. Stage 2: The First Appellate Authority (FAA)
    3. Stage 3: Central Information Commission (CIC)
  2. Procedure of filing First Appeal (FAA)
  3. Readymade Appeal to FAA (for Stage 2)
  4. Procedure after FAA (stage 3)
  5. Vendetta and revenge plotting by UPSC
  6. UPSC unnecessarily delays RTI replies


  • Those of you, who wanted to file an RTI Application to know their marks, cut-offs and answer-keys of CSAT (Prelims) Test 2012, I had earlier provided you the readymade RTI application and instructions on following link https://mrunal.org/2012/07/rti-csat2012-resul.html
  • Some of the readers did send RTI to the Joint Director of UPSC accordingly, but unfortunately UPSC is playing the old tricks again= Not disclosing the information and giving reasons that “exam process is not complete etc.etc.etc.” Here is an example of RTI reply received by a reader, click on the following image.

So what to do now? Well, you’ve to move up the ladder and file appeal this Joint Director (CPIO)’s boss = Joint Secretary of UPSC. And if he doesn’t help then you file next appeal to Central Information Commissioner (CPIO). Well that’s the procedure under RTI act.

Following guest article by an RTI expert who wishes to remain anonymous:

Dear friends,

A number of people on this forum have been applying before UPSC through the RTI Act for information on the cut-offs and answer key of Prelims Test 2012. And they are getting the reply that the sought information was exempt under one or more provisions of the RTI Act. This article will guide you on what to do next.

Stage 1: Central Public Information Officer (CPIO)

You’ve already submitted your RTI application to this officer [Joint director of UPSC] and he would / will send you the reply accordingly in 30 days. If you’re unsatisfied with his answer, then you can move to first appellate authority (FAA)

Stage 2: The First Appellate Authority (FAA)

FAA [Joint Secretary of UPSC], He is the administrative superior of the CPIO. First appeal can be filed if your application for information has been rejected, or you have been given misleading or incomplete information, or if the charges demanded by the CPIO are unjustified or if you have not got the information within 30 days from the date of receipt of application by the CPIO. Please note that the FAA has to decide the matter within 30 days, or a maximum of 45 days, if he gives reasons in writing. You don’t have to pay him any fees.

Stage 3: Central Information Commission (CIC)

You can prefer a Second Appeal before the CIC if the FAA has rejected your appeal, or has not decided even up to 45 days from the date of receipt of First Appeal. Again, You don’t have to pay him any fees.

Remember, these are compulsory tiers; meaning you cannot approach the CIC without first approaching the FAA.

Procedure of filing First Appeal (FAA)

There is no prescribed format for filing First Appeals. You just have to make sure that you submit all the information that is required by the FAA to arrive at a decision. But it always helps if your appeals are neat and ordered. A basic template for drafting your own First Appeal is given hereunder:

(this draft is preprare assuming that you had asked UPSC to provide you the answerkeys, photocopy of your OMR sheet and cut offs for UPSC CSAT exam but they did not provide it to you).

Readymade Appeal to FAA (for Stage 2)

(Just copy paste this letter in MS Word and make, necessary changes according to your requirement)


[Insert Date]
[Insert Name]
[Insert Address]

Joint Secretary (Exam),
Union Public Service Commission,
New Delhi.


Sub: First Appeal under section 19(1) of the RTI Act

Ref: My RTI Application dated [Insert Date] and Reply from CPIO [Insert File No.] dated [Insert Date]

This is a statutory First Appeal being filed against the non-furnishing of information as sought in the RTI Application.
I had filed an application for information dated [Insert Date] with the CPIO requesting for [Insert the details of the information you had requested].

In his reply dated [Insert Date], the CPIO has rejected my request claiming exemption under the RTI Act.

I submit that the decision of the CPIO was bad in light of the RTI Act, and that my application for information deserved disclosure under the RTI Act for the following reasons:

  1. It is submitted that the invocation of section 8(1)(i) by the CPIO in respect of the marks scored by the candidate, the cut-off and the answer-keys, relating to PT 2012, is unjustified at law, keeping in mind the letter and spirit of the RTI Act, and the various decisions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the Central Information Commission.
  2. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the landmark case of Aditya Bandopadhyay v. CBSE, has been unequivocal and categorical that as against request for disclosure of answer scripts by candidate himself, no exemption under section 8 can be validly raised. Please refer to para 27 of the judgment: “As no other exemption under section 8 is available in respect of evaluated answer books, the examining bodies willhave to permit inspection sought by the examinees.” This will also include copies of the OMR sheets of the PT and the marks scored by the candidate.
  3. Further, there is enormous public interest involved in disclosure of answer scripts as it is essential for a candidate to know his weaknesses and it is also his moral right to peruse his own answer scripts. The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in LPA No. 817/2010 has held that “Those who are knocked out before the interview even and did not have a chance to compete any further, are definitely entitled to know that they have not been knocked out arbitrarily to deprive them from even competing any further.” Similarly, this very Central Information Commission has observed that the disclosure of the marks after the preliminary examination would help candidates to make an honest assessment of their performance so that they can prepare better for the next preliminary examination [Shipra Sud v. CPIO, UPSC, No.CIC/SM/A/2012/000135].  Therefore, the candidate should be allowed disclosure of his answer scripts.
  4. The appellant asserts that the invocation of section 8(1)(i) of the RTI Act by the CPIO, UPSC, is unjustified at law since the UPSC in the process of selecting candidates for the Mains Examination does not undertake any process which needs the ratification of the Union Cabinet. The CPIO, UPSC, himself has admitted to the fact that no material exists on record to show that the Union Cabinet is anyway involved in the process of selection of candidates for the Mains Examination [F.No. 1/1(31)/63/2012-E-XXI dated 21 May 2012].

Therefore, I request before you to order the CPIO to immediately furnish the information requested by me free of charge.

Yours Sincerely,

Enclosures: [Make sure you submit photocopies of all the necessary documents]

  1. Copy of original RTI Application along with proof of payment of fee.
  2. Copy of reply sent by CPIO

And any other document which you think is important for the case.

Please note: You DONOT need to submit any fees or IPOs with this application, because you already submitted the RTI fees during first stage.

And after that, mail this envelop to following address:

Joint Secretary (Exam),

Union public service Commission (UPSC),

Dholpur House,

Shah Jahan Road,

New Delhi-110069

Procedure after FAA (stage 3)

  • Once you file an appeal before FAA, you’ll have to wait for 45 days. If you’re unhappy with his reply, then you send application to CIC.
  • if you donot wish to be bothered to visit New Delhi during CIC hearings then You should usually put a statement in the appeal that you are not interested in a personal appearance, Otherwise you can make a personal appearance at the CIC if you prefer so.
  • There is also the option of video-conferencing at the time of hearing, if you are so interested. There is facility of video facility, maybe at the District Headquarters Office, which you can use free of cost to video-conference at the time of hearing. To do so, you must put in a statement in the appeal that you will be unable to make personal appearance, and so will prefer video-conference. The CIC will then give you the time of hearing, and will engage the authorities responsible to give you a slot at the time of hearing.

Vendetta and revenge plotting by UPSC

  • Some aspirants fear that if they file RTI / PILs against UPSC then UPSC will note down their name is some sort of ‘black diary’ and then UPSC will punish them by not giving them good marks during their next attempts.
  • Let me assure you, the talk that UPSC can take vendetta over candidates filing cases against them is all bunkum. We are operating at a level where some matters cannot be settled by consensus or coercion, but need the backing of a court of law. Even officials in the grade of Chief Secretary and DGP have to perforce file petitions in CATs, HCs and SC in matters relating to postings and promotions.
  • Even if the CM is sympathetic to their cause, he too is helpless in these legal matters. So, the moral is, the UPSC is such a huge body that to plot and scheme against any candidate needs coordination and planning from many departments, which is not practically possible. There is no need to fear for any candidate. However devious a bureaucrat maybe, he will stop short of putting his neck on the chopping block by undertaking a criminal act.

UPSC unnecessarily delays RTI replies

  • Please notice one of the tricks employed by UPSC to harass and vex RTI Applicants: Even though the reply is a simple one of denying information, which could be given in one day itself, they will purposefully hold on to the reply till the 30th day.
  • So, the practice is the CPIO will take some time and then draft the reply, put his signature and will then hand over the reply to his minions with the instructions that the reply will be posted only on the 30th day of receiving the letter.
  • This is a clear breach of the spirit of the law because what section 7(1) provides is that on receipt of a request, a PIO shall:
  • Dispose of the request “as expeditiously as possible” ; But in no case after thirty days from the receipt of the application.
  • You will observe that the primary part is that the request should be disposed of ASAP, even though the penalty might not kick in till the expiry of thirty days.
  • This is the loophole that bureaucrats are merrily exploiting.

To sum up,

The people at UPSC are a litigious lot and will take even the flimsiest reasons to evade disclosure of information under RTI Act. It personally costs the bureaucrats nothing to hire the best advocates and take up the matter up to the Supreme Court, even if they can only delay the inevitable. It is only the taxpayers money after all.

Indian History Freedom Struggle Pratik Nayak

37 Comments on “[RTI] Seeking OMR answersheets from UPSC: CSAT-2012 failed candidates, How to file appeal against CPIO’s order to FAA”

  1. hi sir i m general categry student. i didn,t qualify in prilms exam 2012.
    i have done m.sc. in mathematics and qualified JRF(NET)in maths also i hv done M.Tech from IIT Delhi.
    my optional are mathematics and hindi lit. i hv only 2 attempt
    i m confused about optional change in 2013 please guede me sir

  2. hey murnal,can you post some link or strategy related to geology for ias.i would be grateful to you,keep it up bro!god bless u.

  3. hi mrunal. there isnt any info for history mains subject. no book list /papers/tips etc? pls write about it . thnx in advance

  4. hi , thnx fr the reply , i was reading abhishek’s interview, for compulsory language prep , he prepared from previous exam papers. as you have already uploaded a collection of English papers(thnx). He also studied Hindi from previous question papers, can you find that file or ask him fr Hindi exam paper collection . thnx !

  5. Hi mrunal,
    i still have not got the reply by upsc.i had sent my RTI application on 1st august through speedpost.i am already depressed bcoz i was confident of getting 220+ marks.what should i do now?plz help

  6. Does the same rule applies for Indian Forest Service Exams, as there is no prilems in it,and if i need to get my Theory marks and that of the last candidate shotlisted in my category (GM)should i have to follow the same procedure as above


    1. you mean filling RTI ? Yep the procedure is one and same for every department, first you ask question to the PIO >unhappy then appeal to FAA> still unhappy then appeal to CIC.

      The text of the application would change according to your requirements.

  7. Hi Mrunal…..
    I’ve filed an RTI application seeking my CSAT 2012 marks(Filing date:- 12/09/2012). They’ve replied today(25/09/2012) saying that the “information can’t be provided as the process of examination hasn’t completed yet”.

    So, this accuse might be slightly exaggerated that UPSC makes “unnecessary delays”….
    However, i m looking forward to appeal to FAA…

  8. sir i want to get a copy of answersheet from my NP university please guide me how and to whom should I file RTI.I have just got my final year graduation marksheet….Bhardwaj……Thanks

  9. sir I want to see answersheet of topper of economics optional in UPSC Mains 2012(Paper 1 and 2).I am an Economics graduate so I want to watch the answers quality given in mains.Can I get the answersheet by RTI……thanks..

  10. hello sir,
    i’m a physiotherapygraduate and i have not cleared my prelims in 2012.i’m confused if to attempt this year r not due to confusion on roumours of optionals plz guide me sir

  11. Hi Mrunal,

    I would like to know why UPSC is so adamant in hiding marks, correct answer-sheets & cut-offs etc, while some state PSC are doing it. Also I would like to give an example that MPSC(Maharashtra) discloses all these for their state services exams, PSI, STI etc exams and in every exam they have to correct there answers based on inputs from candidates feedback. So what is surety the methods & answers UPSC is using are 100% accurate. That would mean either UPSC guys are super genius(or have hired some super genius)or other state PSC guys are incompetent.

    This is a practical point besides other transparent & accountability stuff.

    Has any PIL’s being filled for this.

    1. Well, quite a few court cases against UPSC but they just hire lawyers on taxpayers’ money.
      I think UPSC is afraid, it’ll loose its “maai-baap” status if starts disclosing everything under R.T.I. Being Lord Curzon can be addictive.

  12. OK…but hiring good lawyers could lead in delays in judgement etc. But they cant turn around the case, because there is no complication in the issue. And if there are only cases, I guess some experienced NGO or some person should take PIL route and not just for UPSC but for all competitive exams conducted at all levels of government.

    There cant be a PIL request as open & uncomplicated than this.

  13. Kindly write the article related with How to file RTI to BSSC (Bihar Staff Selection Commission) for seeking information related with CGL sachivalaya sahayak exam final result and answer key.
    Its quite urgent as the final merit list is out on 6th Feb’2013 and we have to file RTI to seek information.

    Thanks & Regards.

  14. Awesome dude. You are doing a fantastic work. A grand salute to you. Keep the good work. However I would also suggest to keep these RTIs purpose oriented. What i mean here is that you must file RTIs without any grudge and solely for the interest of the aspirants. That will save their lot of energy and time after all they (UPSC) are a public authority.

  15. I salute you. I know very well what humongous effort you have put there. Really help to the humanity and living for a cause.

    Again thanks for everything.

  16. i applied for the post of principal in the month of april 2010 ,appeared for the entrance exam in 2o12(april ), result was declared on 29 july 2013, i cleared the exam,, today the list of candidates for interview is out and my roll no is not there may be on the basis that i have experience of being a TGT( of 23 years ) but if it was the reason for not competing for interwiew than i should not have been called for the written exam

  17. i have applied for review of my exam copies under rti act but from then 90 days have been passed and i didn’t get any reply till now. I want to file a first appeal to FAA but dont know who is FAA in case of csjmu, kanpur university so if u can suggest me over it please

  18. Hi Murnal,
    I have a different question related to eligibility for the IAS exam.As I’m a BS-MS integrated physics student
    at IISER kolkata.I want to appear for UPSC in final year i.e in the 5th year of my integarted MS course.Can I appear so?As i will be getting my masters degree in the following year of prelims exam,before that i don’t have any bachelors degree (as this is integrated masters course so we don’t get any bachelors degree certificate before the completion of the five year,and we get both bachelors and masters only after 5th year),but yes i will have provisional certificate/scorecard of all my 8th semesters.
    Thank you

  19. Sir,
    Could you please file an RTI for following :
    1. optional wise count of candidates appeared in mains 2011,2012
    2.optional wise count of successful candidates who appeared in interview 2011,2012.
    3. optional wise highest marks scored in 2011,2012 exams.

  20. I have appeared for an interview. It was video recorded. Can I ask the video recording of all the other candidates under RTI ACT

  21. Hi Mrunal ,
    Please let me know how to file RTI to get the previous years question paper of ACF exam conducted by KPSC( is there any specific procedure to get CD/DVD of the same ? ) , and cutoff marks for the same.
    Thanks in advance .

  22. Although I’m a resident of Tripura in the Northeast India, I studied in English medium institutes in Meghalaya & Bangalore, and selected English as my alternative languages. But according to CSE Mains I have to select local languages as option for Paper-A because of my origin in Tripura, and in this case Bengali is the language for me. Sadly, I can communicate in Bengali language but cant write fluently in it. Also I belong to ST category.

    So does it mean I’m not eligible to appear for CS Exams just because I can’t write in Bengali?Please help. Thanks.

  23. Sir, I want to see answer sheets of cs(mains) ,2014. I didn’t qualify English compulsory paper. I want to see that sheets and marks obtained by me in other papers like g.s., optional, essay. Can I apply for rti.

  24. sir
    Can i file RTI to UGC to know whether my degree is eligible for appearing in upsc exam??/
    or should i file it to upsc???

  25. What is the procedure if you are unsatisfied by CIC also. What after thaf for third appeal should we file case in high court as sometimes CIC or SIC are helping govt authorities as same happened with me also.

  26. I had filed RTI online against UPSC on 22.07.2017 regarding Provide me the following information regarding National Defence Academy & Naval Academy Examination (I), 2017 [also known as NDA & NA (I), 2017.]
    1. Official Answerkeys for Paper I and Paper II.
    2. Photocopies of OMR Answersheets of Roll Number 0001741.
    3. Marks allotted to Roll Number 0001741 in each paper.
    4. Cut off mark for written exam.
    Today I got reply that, the marks etc. of candidate, may be obtained after publication of the final result (after concluding SSB interviews)
    Now I have to move to first appellate authority (FAA) or not. I have doubt that they can not provided the copy of OMR answer sheet after final result as this will destroyed after 45 days and result may be declared after three month.

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