In a departure from practice, the Karnataka State Public Service Commission (KPSC) has decided not to give photocopies of answer scripts to candidates.
Following an announcement to this effect recently, a candidate sought a copy of her answer scripts of the 2014 mains exam under the Right to Information Act 2005, but her request was turned down. In its reply, a copy of which is available with The Hindu, the KPSC stated that the issue was discussed and deliberated at length during a recent meeting and it was decided to not give photocopies of answer scripts. “The meeting decided to follow the procedure followed by the Union Public Service Commission regarding the issue. We have come to know that the UPSC does not give photocopies of answer scripts and the KPSC also decided to follow the same,” the reply states.
Basavaraj, a candidate from the 2011 batch, said the decision had shut the doors for aspirants to fight for their rights. “The KPSC has always been under a cloud of suspicion over irregularities in evaluation. It doesn’t have the credibility that the UPSC enjoys and that’s why it should take steps to ensure transparency,” he said.
In fact, the Criminal Investigation Department, which probed into alleged corruption in selection of gazetted probationers in 2011, pointed out several irregularities in the evaluation of mains exam papers. The irregularities include unqualified evaluators, misuse of third evaluation to give more marks to select candidates, and candidates who have chosen Geography as an optional scoring more than the rest. “There have been several instances of candidates challenging the evaluation after availing themselves of photocopies of their answer scripts. The new decision will mean denial of the right to appeal,” said Sanjeev Kumar, an aspirant.
Take the case of G.M. Siddesh who was selected to the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police in the 2010 batch. After obtaining photocopies of all his answer scripts, he found out that answers for over 35 marks in the Public Administration optional paper were not evaluated at all. He challenged the evaluation in the Karnataka State Administrative Tribunal, and now he is posted as Assistant Commissioner (Revenue). If the KPSC refuses to provide copies of the answer scripts, no such redressals would be possible, said aspirants.
N.S. Prasanna Kumar, Secretary, KPSC, said since the KPSC had now initiated multiple measures to ensure fair play in evaluation such as digital evaluation and declaration of marks in individual papers, providing photocopies of the answer scripts is not needed.
Senior High Court advocate C.S. Dwarkanath, who fought for the selected candidates of the 2011 batch, however, said that under RTI Act, the KPSC cannot turn down a request for a copy of the answer script.