The court passed the order while disposing of a plea of one of the candidates who had appeared in the 2013 DHJS exam and had sought information on viva voce (interview) marks awarded by the interview committee to other candidates.
The Delhi High Court has directed its information officer to disclose under the RTI, the marks awarded by an interview panel to candidates of Delhi Higher Judicial Service (DHJS) examination held in 2013. The court said when the results of the examination have been placed in public domain, there was no question of claiming any exemption under the Right To Information (RTI) Act. The court passed the order while disposing of a plea of one of the candidates who had appeared in the 2013 DHJS exam and had sought information on viva voce (interview) marks awarded by the interview committee to other candidates. He approached the high court challenging the Central Information Commission’s order rejecting his appeal under the RTI Act, which was preferred against an order of the first appellate authority. “The present petition is disposed of by directing the respondent to disclose a tabulated statement of the marks awarded to all candidates by the interview panel as available on record,” Justice Vibhu Bakhru said.
The court noted that the controversy essentially remained with regard to the viva voce marks awarded by the interview committee to other candidates. It said that in this case, the issue is not regarding any confidential gradings, but results of a public examination for selecting candidates for appointment to the DHJS examination.
“The results of the examination have been placed in public domain and, there is no question of claiming any exemption under Section 8(1)(e) of the Act,” the court said. The Public Information Officer (PIO) of the high court had submitted before the CIC that although the information regarding the marks awarded by the interview committee was not traceable earlier, it had been traced and was now available with the PIO.
This was also informed to petitioner Mukesh Kumar, who was represented by advocate Dharmendra Kumar Mishra, in another proceeding which was instituted by him before the high court. Regarding the petitioner’s request for the break-up of the interview marks, the court said it does not find any reason why such information ought to be withheld from him. “Clearly, the names of the members of the interview panel are required to be redacted, … which member of the interview board awarded what marks to the candidates is not required to be disclosed,” it said.
The court said as the handwritten marks awarded by the panel was concerned, they were part of the working papers of the interview panel and cannot be disclosed.
It said disclosure of such handwritten record would also inevitably disclose the identity of the panel’s members which cannot be disclosed to the petitioner. The petitioner has said the interviews were conducted from May 18 to May 21, 2015 and the final result was declared on July 20, 2015. He filed an application before the PIO of the high court on July 28, 2015 seeking certain information.