- Procedure of filing First Appeal (FAA)
- Readymade Appeal to FAA (for Stage 2)
- Procedure after FAA (stage 3)
- Vendetta and revenge plotting by UPSC
- 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 http://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:
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.
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)
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.
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.
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).
(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,
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Enclosures: [Make sure you submit photocopies of all the necessary documents]
- Copy of original RTI Application along with proof of payment of fee.
- 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),
Shah Jahan Road,
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.