1. Minimum Passing marks in English & Language papers
  2. Principle used to fix minimum passing marks in Mains?
  3. Candidates selected for Mains (Categorywise)
  4. Attendance in Mains-2013
  5. Tentative Result dates for Mains-2013
  6. Re-evaluation of Mains answersheet?
  7. Absence in one of the papers=Disqualification?

Had filled this RTI on 16th December 2013, received reply yesterday (20 January 2014)

Minimum Passing marks in English & Language papers

Q. Kindly provide me Minimum passing marks, and total number of candidates failed in Compulsory English paper and Indian language papers in the civil services (Mains) examinations of 2010, 2011, and 2012.

UPSC replies:

  • It is informed that the disclosure of minimum qualifying standards of the English compulsory paper and the Indian Language compulsory papers to the particular RTI applicant would confer an unfair advantage to the applicant (Mrunal)/those close to him in terms of preparation for the Civil Services Examination.
  • This would be unfair to, and is likely to harm the competitive position of the thousands of other candidates, especially those from rural/remote areas, in this competitive examination. Therefore, disclosure of this information is exempted u/s 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act, 2005, as it would unfairly impact on the competitive position of third parties.
  • Further, if the qualifying marks of previous years) were to be disclosed, there is every possibility that candidates would not put in their best efforts but only enough to achieve the predicted qualifying standards.
  • This would have implications in the quality of the paper (thus detracting from the prestige of the exam) and in setting the consequent year’s qualifying standards.
  • This is not in the Commission’s interest and in its capacity thus as an affected third party, exemption u/s 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act, 2005 is again invoked.
  • It is also informed that the number of candidates failed in compulsory English and Indian Language papers is not compiled. Hence, cannot be provided.

Mrunal comments: Waah Ustaad Waah. You say if passing marks are disclosed then “people will not put their best efforts and prestige of the exam will be lost” => in a way, it implies that passing marks are ridiculously low.

But many candidates have failed in the language papers in past. This leads to a new conspiracy theory:

  1. that Candidates were too dumb hence they fail even if minimum passing marks are too low OR
  2. that Professors who’re not qualified to check language papers, are involved in evaluation and /or setting the minimum passing marks. OR
  3. that UPSC lost some answersheets and randomly failed candidates.

Anyways, I’ll appeal all the way to CIC.

Principle used to fix minimum passing marks in Mains?

Q. What principle does UPSC apply to fix minimum passing marks/ qualifying marks for each of these compulsory English or Indian language paper? (e.g. fix 35-40% of maximum marks as in school and college exam OR fix a random number to fail bottom 1/6th of the candidates or some sort of percentile system?)

UPSC replies: Your query is interrogatory in nature and not for information as defined under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act, 2005. However it is informed that minimum qualifying standard is fixed by the Commission at their discretion as per rules of the Examination.

Mrunal comments: right, let this be a lesson (to myself) and any future RTI applicants- always ask question regarding to paper records. In this question, I should have asked “provide me a copy of official policy/guideline/minutes of the meeting pertaining to fixing of minimum passing marks in English and compulsory language papers of Mains examination.”

Candidates selected for Mains (Categorywise)

Q. Total number of candidates qualified for the mains examination. (i.e. cleared the preliminary exam of 2013), category wise (SC,ST,OBC,PH and General).

category candidates selected for mains % wise
SC 2714 18.143
ST 1251 8.363
OBC 4715 31.519
General 6279 41.975
total 14959 100.000

However, these figures are subject to change when complete scrutiny of their respective claims of community/category/PH status etc. is taken /complete.

Mrunal comments:

UPSC only told the absolutes numbers, I’ve made the percentage table.  it won’t fit the traditional 15-7.5-27 reservation because of overlapping PH category. But I’ve filled a separate RTI on that regard, response still awaited.

Attendance in Mains-2013

Q. Total number of candidates who filled DAF forms for civil service Mains exam 2013.

UPSC replies: A total of 14800 candidates filled DAF for CS(Main) Exam 2013.

(I’m curious what happened to those 14959-14800=159 candidates? May be they were ‘solely’ dedicated to IFoS.)

Q. Total number of candidates that actually appeared in Mains examination.

Firmed up details are yet to be finalized.

Q. Total number of candidates remained absent in one or more papers of Mains examination.

Firmed up details are yet to be finalized.

Tentative Result dates for Mains-2013

Q. Tentative dates for declaration of the result of CSE-Mains-2013.

UPSC replies: CPIO is not expected to predict future couse of action of the Public Authority. However, the result of CS(Maiin) exam 2013 (written) may be declared In March/April 2014.

Re-evaluation of Mains answersheet?

Question: After 2012’s CSE examination, did UPSC receive any application/petition/request(s) from candidate(s), seeking re-evaluations of their answersheets, particularly the Compulsory English / Indian Language paper?

  1. If yes, did UPSC re-evaluate paper(s) of any of such candidates?
  2. If yes to above question, did UPSC change were any candidate’s marks/result accordingly?

UPSC replies: A number of candidates, who were not satisfied with their result had requested to the Commission for re-checking or re-valuation of their answer books of Civil Services (Main) exam 2012. However, as there was no provision in CSE Rules for re-valuation of answer books, no such re-valuation was undertaken. Nevertheless, the answer books of all such candidates were re-checked/re-scrutinized to rule out any technical/human error, which could have affected the result.

Absence in one of the papers=Disqualification?

Q. For the Forest Service and Civil Service Mains exam of 2013, If a candidate had remained absent in one or more papers (except language paper) due to any unforeseen events such as road-accident, Will he be still be considered for the next round (i.e. Interview) if he scores sufficient marks in remaining papers? Of course CPIO cannot speculate answer for hypothetical questions, but since UPSC official notification is silent on this issue, I seek to know the gist of official policy /procedure / past decisions / exemptions granted to any candidate(s) in the earlier exams.

UPSC replies: The CPIO is not expected to comment on hypothetical situations nor he is required to study and explain the provisions of rules/notifications to satisfy the queries of an FM applicant.

Mrunal comments: but I told you in the question itself- notification is silent on this issue! Anyways another learning experience on how *not to frame* RTI questions. will talk with the RTI & legal experts and frame the appeal to FAA and CIC.


Scanned copy of UPSC’s RTI reply: https://files.secureserver.net/0szPCxMFQbKWqK

For more RTI misadventures, visit Mrunal.org/RTI.