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CA student get her answersheet
July, 18th 2009

This news is bound to cheer all the chartered accountancy students who have been wanting to get a copy of their answersheets after they appeared for the exams.

The Central Information Commission, (CIC), in a landmark order, has directed The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to provide a copy of the evaluated answersheet to Vikita V Soni, a candidate who had appeared for the final CA examination.

In its order, the commission said that an examinee had the right to access the evaluated answersheets for "self-assessing her performance''.

The case came up for hearing before the commission after Soni, a Khetwadi resident, filed an RTI query in March seeking a copy of her evaluated answersheet. Soni said that though she had prepared very hard for the exam and was expecting her name in the toppers' list, she was shocked to know that she had failed.

Soni then approached Tarun Mitral Mandal, an NGO, to assist her in filing an RTI query. "She approached our Fort branch and we helped her in filing the query,'' said NGO convener Rajen Dharod.

Though the query was filed in January this year, the public information officer of ICAI rejected the query stating, "According to the rules and regulations formulated by the institute, this query does not come under the ambit of the RTI act.''

Soni then filed an appeal, which was also rejected. She then approached the CIC When the hearing came up before the commission on July 13, it noted, "The query was rejected without indicating the provisions of the RTI act under which exemption from disclosure of answersheets have been made."

In his order, central information commissioner M M Ansari said that the appellant had asked for a copy of her own evaluated answersheet. "An examinee has the right to access her performance. In view of this, there is no justification for denial of the requested information," the CIC orders said.

"I, therefore, direct the ICAI to furnish the requested information within 15 working days from the date of issue of the decision, failing which penalty u/s 20(1) of the Act would be imposed," Ansari said.

Chartered and cost accountants across the country welcomed the order. "We strongly feel that the Institute should be more proactive towards the RTI act," said Narayan Verma , former president of Bombay Chartered Accountants Society.

Agreed Rajgopal Menon, a CA who has practices in Kerala. "The order will usher in greater transparency in the way the exam papers are evaluated."

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