Right to Information
RTI Can Be Filed to Procure Exam Answer Sheets
I regularly receive emails seeking advice on filing RTI for procuring copies of answer sheets. Recently, a student wrote, “I am a student of Guwahati University, Assam. I am doing 5 years B.A. L.L.B. Hons. and I am in the 10th semester, that is the final semester. 
 
“The problem is that many of my friends failed in one paper of 9th semester, which is astonishing because they are really good in studies and they believe that they should have passed in that subject. But in the written exam they got 16-17 only out of 80 marks. So they want to re-evaluate the copies. But they have applied for universities of other states. So they are afraid that it will cost them one year as the result of re-evaluation is not given early. So they want to file RTI also.
 
“Therefore, I want to ask you whether we can file RTI and apply for revaluation at the same time. And can you please tell me the procedure for filing it.” 
 
In another mail, a student who had appeared for the civil services examination, wrote, “I had filed an RTI before UPSC seeking certified copy of skill test examination and separate merit lists of all skill test and interview in respect of all candidates. I know they will claim exemption u/s 8 & 9. Can you please give me some Supreme Court, High Court and CIC judgments.’’
 
Earlier, I had received mails from stressed CBSE students as they had to cough up Rs1000 per answer sheet -- Rs700 for revaluation and Rs300 for RTI application. However, thanks to young student activists who sought legal intervention, students appearing for all school board examinations, college examinations, public services and any other competitive examination have every right to ask for answer sheets under RTI and the relevant public authorities are bound by the RTI law to provide them the answer sheets.
 
Several universities like Delhi University and Savitribai Phule Pune University, were also charging exorbitant fees and putting difficult terms and conditions for providing copies of answer sheets. In Pune, RTI activist Vivek Velankar filed a  complaint with the CIC, which ordered Pune University to abide by the Supreme Court ruling. Also, heads of educational institutions take cover under `fiduciary’ relationship – trust between an educational institution and the student and hence such information is not public information. The Supreme Court has rejected this excuse.
 
So, what should the students do?
Not every State has a format for RTI application. If your State has one, then file it as per the format. This is for the State Board examinations. In case of centrally held public examinations, there is no particular format. However, the following format procured from www.rti.org seems ideal. It is as follows:
1. Central Public Information Officer, O/o Registrar of University, [Name of the University] [Full Address]
2. Subject: Information under Right to Information Act 2005
3. Dated: [Enter the Date of RTI Application]
4. Dear Sir,
5. Kindly furnish certified copies of my answer-sheets, the details of which are as under:
6. 1. Name of the candidate: [Enter Your Name]
7. 2. Roll Number : [Enter the Roll Number]
8. 3. Name of Exam : [Write the name of the examination, say B.Sc 2nd year]
9. 4. Date of Exam : [Date of the Examination]
10. 5. Name of the Subject: [Give the names of the subjects for which you want the copies]
11. 6. Exam Centre: [Exam centre location]
12. 7. Subject Code: [Write the Subject Code of Exam]
13. 8. Centre Code: [Write the Centre code as available in hall ticket]
14. [If you are attaching the copy of the hall ticket, and write, that you are attaching the copy of the hall ticket]
15. I am attaching the prescribed fees of Rs [Write the fee amount deposited. Check from the University website for the correct RTI Fees]  paid through [Write the Mode of Payment Cash /Cheque/Postal Order etc.] dated [Write the date of the examination].
16. With Regards,
17. [Your name]
18. [Date of writing RTI Application]
19. [Full Postal Address along with email & Telephone number]
 
So, here’s why students should not be afraid to ask for answer sheets under RTI Act:
 
1. Supreme Court Order of 2011: In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court allowed the disclosure of the answer-sheets under Right to Information (RTI) Act to the examinee. The bench dismissed the petitions filed by different public authorities and affirmed the judgment of the Calcutta High Court allowing the disclosure of answer-sheets. The case was filed by Central Board of Secondary Education, West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, West Bengal Council for Higher Education, University of Calcutta, Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, West Bengal Central School Service Commission and Assam Public Service Commission challenging the common order and judgment passed by division bench of the Calcutta High Court. 
 
2. Law students file contempt of court against CBSE for defying Supreme Court order:
Despite the Supreme Court order, CBSE continued to stonewall students in gross violation. This led a group of law students, Whistle for Public Interest, to file a contempt of court case, after they used RTI and discovered that CBSE accepts no application under RTI for obtaining the copy of evaluated answer-sheets. The Supreme Court, in the contempt petition, ordered that CBSE should not only ensure that students get access to their answer-sheets under RTI but it should also help students learn and use RTI as a tool in the matters involving public authorities. This would help them become responsible citizens.
 
Note: All the state run institutions falling under the meaning of Public Authority defined under section 2(h) of the RTI Act, are obliged to provide answer-sheets under Right to Information. 
 
Some earlier links of stories in Moneylife
 
 
 
 

User

COMMENTS

auvietco

3 weeks ago

Thank you very much for providing an excellent tuning experience

Sisir

4 weeks ago

I have two queries in this regard:

1. PIO refuses to provide copies of answer sheets. FAA orders PIO to provide copies. PIO then states that RTI Applicant has to visit the University to collect the copies in person. Can such condition be imposed?

2. As per the rules of a particular University, the retention period of answer sheets is just one month. What is the liability of the University if a student's answer sheet is destroyed before his RTI is replied to with a copy of his/her answer sheet?

Thanks

REPLY

Vinita Deshmukh

In Reply to Sisir 4 weeks ago

1. No, the PIO cannot impose regarding personal visit to collect it although one would think in this case, the applicant would be eager to get it at the earliest
2. If the RTI application is before the retention period, the univ must preserve the record until it provides the information. The university must also prove that it has destroyed records after the retention period for if it hasn't for some reason, then it should provide the information. Here is the extract of the 2016 CIC decision to this effect ``The Public Authority is expected to receive the RTI applications and provide information/answer sheets until the records are weeded out as per their policy. If they have retained the answer sheets, even after the prescribed retention period for any reason, they cannot deny if it is not destroyed as on the date of RTI application. If the same were already weeded out as per their retention policy, then there is a justification for denying the information to the appellant, as the same was not ‘held’ by them. But the Public Authority has to prove the date of destroying by a copy of the relevant register, wherein the providing weeding out of records were recorded/diarised.
The Public Authority is also required to hold the records, if an RTI application/grievance/complaint is pending before the authorities such as, CIC/PGC/NHRC/Courts, etc even though the prescribed retention period was exhausted and until the said proceedings before the above authorities, are disposed of finally. In this case, PGC had observed that answer sheets were weeded out even though the applicant’s RTI request and grievances were under consideration. The Dean of the University represented to the Commission that they have already taken necessary steps to prevent removal of records when the requests for such records/complaints are pending. The Dean assured that such things will not happen again.

Vinita Deshmukh

In Reply to Vinita Deshmukh 4 weeks ago

Mr Sisir, here is the CIC order: http://ciconline.nic.in/rti/docs/cic_decisions/CIC_SA_A_2015_001407_M_178318.pdf

GST's red-carpet entry: Impact on consumers, traders, government
With the biggest tax reform set to receive a red carpet welcome in Parliament's Central Hall when the clock strikes midnight on June 30, the Goods and Services Tax will irreversibly impact consumers, traders, businesses as well as the revenue collection machines of the states and the centre.
 
Though the real impact of the government's big-bang reform can be assessed only after a full year of its implementation, let us gauge its effect on the various aspects of trade, consumer prices and government revenue.
 
In many cases it may weigh heavily on your pockets while in others it may soothe the traders' frayed nerves with input tax credit. In terms of GST's effect on the government's revenue kitty, it seems to be on the wait and watch mode.
 
- Services, including banking and telecom, will get more expensive, as will flats, ready-made garments, monthly mobile bills and tuition fees.
 
- From July 1, when you visit an air-conditioned restaurant, be ready to shell out 18 per cent as taxes. In case you prefer a non-air-conditioned food joint, then you will save six per cent as such restaurants will attract 12 per cent GST.
 
- Mobile bills, tuition fees and salon visits will also get costlier by three per cent, as GST at the rate of 18 per cent will be applicable on all services from July 1 as compared to the current service tax rate of 15 per cent.
 
- Apparels above Rs 1,000 will attract 12 per cent tax as compared to the current six per cent state VAT. It may be noted that apparels below 1,000 will attract GST at the rate of five per cent.
 
- In GST regime, buying a flat or shop, will attract GST of 12 per cent as compared to current six per cent approximately.
 
"Though the developers are expected to pass on the benefits of input-credit available to them, with the government also issuing an advisory in this regard, practically how it will work is doubtful," GST expert Pritam Mahure told IANS.
 
So what gets cheaper under GST?
 
- With 81 per cent of items falling under below 18 per cent tax rate, certain goods that will become cheaper are salad dressings, mayonnaise, weighing machinery, static converters (UPS), electric transformers, winding wires, transformers industrial electronics and two-way radio (walkie talkie) used be defence, police and paramilitary forces, which will attract 18 per cent tax rate.
 
- Postage or revenue stamps will also become cheaper as GST on these has been reduced to five per cent.
 
- Tax rate on cutlery, ketchup, sauces and pickle under GST will likely become cheaper as they will be taxed at 12 per cent.
 
- Salt, children's picture, drawing or colouring books and cereal grains have been exempted under GST. Playing cards, chess board, carrom board and other board games have been reduced to 12 per cent GST rate. Rough precious and semi-precious stones have been kept at a special rate of 0.25 per cent under GST.
 
How the traders will be affected?
 
- Traders below Rs 20 lakh annual turnover are exempt under GST as compared to the current threshold of Rs 10 lakh in indirect taxes.
 
- Traders, manufacturers and restaurants with up to Rs 75 lakh turnover can go for the Composition Scheme and pay 1, 2 and 5 per cent tax respectively. Such businesses though will not get input tax credit but will have to file only one quarterly return.
 
- Rest of the traders will have to file three returns every month, out of which two will be auto-populated.
 
The input tax credit under Cenvat credit will be carried forward into the new regime.
 
Integrated GST (IGST) and GST Compensation Cess would be levied on cargo arriving on July 1. Cargo arrived up to June 30 would not attract IGST and compensation cess even though the clearance may happen after July 1.
 
However, additional duty of customs would continue to be levied for imports of petroleum and tobacco products.
 
It is mandatory for all importers/ exporters to declare GST Registration Number (GSTIN) along with Import Export Code (IEC) in the bills of entry, shipping bills and courier forms. Provisional IDs issued by Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) also be declared during the transition period. Input tax credit of IGST would be available based on GSTIN declared in the bill of entry.
 
Exports are zero-rated under GST. Exporter would be entitled to refund of IGST paid on exports or refund of accumulated tax credit on inputs used towards exports. Refund of IGST for exports would be based on GSTIN declared in the shipping bill.
 
So how much money will the government raise trough GST?
 
The revenue growth in the remaining nine months of the fiscal are expected to fall to eight per cent as compared to 22 per cent from indirect taxes in 2016-17. However, no prediction has been made by the government for the full year of indirect tax collection growth for the next fiscal.
 
Indirect tax collections (central excise, service tax and customs) in 2016-17 stood at Rs 8.63 lakh crore.
 
The government is yet to gauge the impact on revenue collection under GST as it had said that they are predicting a neutral growth as they do not know whether the tax growth will go up or down.
 
"In the first year (2017-18), because of implementation issues, there might be a little lag in income. We have kept a target of 8-9-10 per cent growth target (in indirect tax collections) this year as compared to 22 per cent indirect tax growth that we saw in 2016-17. We have kept it as neutral this year, as we don't know whether it will go up or down," Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia had said earlier.
 
"Revenue in first year is uncertain, I am not sure, so can't project it. It will go up overall but central government's revenue will be same or not we will have to see. Because we are surrendering the cesses for the GST compensation," he had said. Cesses imposed on taxpayers so far went to the centre without any share to the states.
 
The Centre will compensate the states for any revenue losses in the GST regime for the first five years, with 14 per cent growth rate in taxes with a base year of 2014-15.
 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

User

COMMENTS

Sunil Rebello

3 weeks ago

Dear Sir,
Today is the first day of GST and I received a demand from HDFC Life as follows:
Installment Premium Amount(INR): Rs. 100,000/-
Service tax & Levies/GST as applicable (INR): Rs. 1,890/-
Net Premium Amount(INR): Rs. 101,890/-
can it be correct.
I understand the GST is now 18%.
Please advise

GST primer: What new tax regime means for businesses and individuals
The significance of Saturday's roll out of the GST can be understood from its launch at a midnight session of Parliament, in a repeat of the joint midnight sitting of both Houses to ring in India's Independence on August 15, 1947.
 
The idea of a pan-India Goods and Services Tax (GST) unifying the Indian market was a vision that guided the nationalist bourgeoisie in joining the Gandhian struggle to liberate India from the British. 
 
From July 1, GST will replace around a dozen central and state taxes into a single national tax. The movement of goods will become much simpler across the country and may become cheaper replacing the current system, where a product is taxed multiple times and at different rates. 
 
At the state level, the taxes that GST will subsume include state cesses and surcharges, luxury tax, state VAT, purchase tax, central sales tax, taxes on advertisements, entertainment tax, all forms of entry tax, and taxes on lotteries and betting. 
 
Central taxes being replaced by GST are service tax, special additional customs duties (SAD), additional Excise duties on goods of special importance, central excise, additional customs duties, excise on medicinal and toilet preparations), additional excise duties on textiles and textile products, and cesses and surcharges. 
 
GST will to be levied at the first point of transaction in sales of goods and services, while the liability to pay the tax will arise at the time of supply. All forms of "supply" of goods and services such as sale, transfer, barter, exchange, license, rental, lease and import of services of goods and services made for a consideration will attract GST.
 
GST would be payable on "transaction value", being the price actually paid or payable, and would include all expenses in relation to sale, such as packing and commission. GST would be applicable depending on whether a transaction is "intra-state" or "inter-state" and there are separate provisions to help an assessee determine the place of supply for goods and services.
 
Traders, manufacturers and restaurants with turnover of up to Rs 75 lakh can avail themselves of the composition scheme. While those with less than Rs 20 lakh turnover are not required to register, traders with Rs 75 lakh turnover will have to pay 1 per cent tax, manufacturers will have to pay 2 per cent while restaurant businesses will have to pay 5 per cent if they opt to go for the Composition Scheme under GST.
 
All the states have enacted their own State GST laws, except Jammu and Kashmir. The Union finance minister has urged the state to join the new indirect tax regime so as not to incur losses on taxation.
 
There are four tax slabs of 5, 12, 18 and 28 per cent, plus a levy on cesses on luxury items like cars, aerated drinks and tobacco products to compensate states for any revenue losses in the first five years. An overwhelming 81 per cent of items will attract tax of 18 per cent or below. Only 19 per cent of items will be taxed at the highest rate of 28 per cent. 
 
In addition, there are 55 different kinds of cesses imposed on products varying from 1 per cent to 290 per cent. Many of the so-called "sin goods" come under the cess category, including cigarettes, pan masala and tobacco but also included are aerated water, cars, motorcycles and yachts. The cesses are being imposed to compensate the states for any revenue loss for the first five years of implementation of GST. The GST Council has suggesed cess on aerated drinks and luxury automobiles at 15 per cent and on cigarettes at 290 per cent. 
 
Goods and services providors will get the benefit of input tax credit for the goods used, effectively making the real incidence of taxation lower than the headline taxation rate.
 
The GST regime has been simplified with assessees being required only to enter the sales invoice, with the subsequent returns getting auto-populated on the the GST Network (GSTN). The Council has allowed businesses a relaxation of time for the first two months (July-August) for filing their return in order to mitigate the teething troubles in the running of the GSTN digital system. 
 
The Council has also postponed applying the Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) and Tax Collection at Source (TCS) provisions for the time being for two categories --e-commerce companies and government agencies. 
 
While the government expects buoyancy in revenue collection with better compliance under the GST, the effective rate of indirect taxes under the new regime regime still remains unclear. 
 
According to the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) taxes were likely to increase a bit from the current level. 
 
GST will lead to lower transportation and distribution costs and so logistics companies stand to gain.
 
Among items of mass consumption like textiles, sarees and readymade apparel are expected to get more expensive under GST. Five per cent GST will be levied on garments and apparel of up to Rs 1,000, beyond which they will be taxed at 12 per cent. 
 
Besides, synthetic and other manmade fibres will attract a higher tax of 18 per cent while other natural fibres (except silk and jute) will be taxed at 5 per cent, which will also impact the cost of sarees.
 
Gold, which is an item dear to Indians, will be taxed at 2 per cent.
 
Exporters stand to benefit as export taxation under GST is zero per cent, while they will also get input credit. GST has to be paid initially but the input credit on raw materials can be claimed by way of refunds. The downside to this is that an exporter's money would be blocked because of the gap between the payment of GST and its refund. 
 
Petroleum, including oil and gas, is a strategic sector that is still not under GST, while the industry has been pushing for its inclusion so as not to be deprived of the benefits of input credit. The matter is pending before the GST Council.
 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
 

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COMMENTS

Mahendra Islaniya

4 weeks ago

Pay now and refund later will kill indian small exporting ,why this absurd system is continued like in Ex central excise? This attitude is like we will never change and indian. Exporting will be killed and no more competitive in world Export Mkt.

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