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Now CS students get Answer Sheet copies at a nominal cost under RTI: Supreme Court Orders!

B Vinay Reddy 
on 13 January 2020

LinkedIn


Dear Friends,

Now CS students get Answer Sheet copies at a nominal cost under RTI: Supreme Court Orders

RTI Act is the most revolutionary act for setting out the practical regime of Right to Information, the 3 Key building pillars behind the act are Responsibility, Transparency and Accountability, which empowered Indian Citizens to secure access to information directly from the Government/Public Authorities.

In this article, I have penned down various Hon'ble Supreme Court judgements, provisions of the RTI Act, 2005 and procedure to apply for certified copies through RTI portal, application format, payment of fees etc., for students and members to obtain certified copies from the Institute of Company Secretaries of India - ICSI at a nominal cost.

Institute procedure to obtain Certified Copies

As you are aware of the process to obtain certified copies as per the Institute procedure, where a student has to apply online for seeking Inspection/Certified copies of answer books within 45 days from the date of declaration of the result of the relevant examination along with the fee of Rs. 500/- per subject/answer book for Certified Copies and Rs. 450/- per subject/answer book for Inspection and certified copies of your answer books will be provided within 30 days from the date of receipt of your application.

The above Institute procedure is an expensive one and a student has got to pay Rs. 500/- per paper for Certified copies.

For example, if a CS Final student desires to apply for certified copies of all the 8 subjects, he has to incur Rs. 4,500/- (Rs.500 per subject × 9 subjects).

RTI procedure to obtain Certified Copies

To enable easy access to the information, the Right to Information Act, 2005 provides access to certified copies of answer sheets at a nominal cost and inspection at free of cost.

RTI Act is in force since 2005, every year many students are applying for certified copies under the RTI Act, 2005 but, Institute has been denying the answer-scripts to the candidates and compels candidates to seek their answer-scripts as per Institute procedure which provides for the cost of Rs. 500/- per subject.

A similar case has happened with ICSI and Mr. Paras Jain, a student of ICSI, fought tirelessly for 7 years and went to the Supreme Court. And on 14th of April, 2019 Supreme Court in the judgement ICSI Vs. Paras Jain, made clear that, a candidate is free to apply for certified copies under the RTI Act, 2005 or as per the procedure laid down by the Institute and fee as to be charged as per the RTI rules when an application is made under the RTI Act, 2005 but not as per the Institute guidelines.

Whether any fee is required to be paid for certified copies under RTI:

To enable easy access to the information, the Right to Information Act, 2005 provides access to certified copies of answer sheets at a nominal cost and inspection at free of cost.

Rule 4 of the RTI Rules, 2012, prescribes a fee for information as follows:

1. Application fee:

While making RTI applications, the payment of RTI Fees of Rs. 10/- needs to be made and the same is waived off for applicants falling below the poverty line by producing the proof of BPL Category.

2. Additional Fee for Inspection/Certified Copies:

 

Inspection of Records

- No fee for the first hour;

- A fee of Rs.5.00 for each subsequent hour or a fraction thereof.

For each page (in A-4 or A-3 size paper)

- Rs. 2.00 per page of photocopy

How to apply for certified copies through RTI Portal?

A candidate can make an online application at his doorsteps without visiting any office, though user registration is not mandatory to file RTI application, I suggest you create an account at RTI online site, so that you can have a list of applications in user account and details like name, email, the address will be auto-filled while filing RTI application.

1. Create account and login to your RTI portal by entering Username and Password at below link https://rtionline.gov.in/

2. Now, click on submit request option, scroll down and click on the checkbox "I have read and understood the above guidelines." and then click on the submit button.

Then Online RTI Request Form screen will be displayed. This form can be used to file an online RTI application.

3. In search Public Authority filed enter the keyword as Companies secretaries and select Institute of Companies Secretaries of India for CS Course students, from the drop-down list and click on Ok.

Name, address, educational qualifications, communication details will be auto-filled, if you have created an account at RTI portal and you can change the same, if required.

4. In the field "Is the Applicant Below Poverty Line?"

• Select the option as Yes, if you belong to BPL - Below Poverty Line category and holds valid proof for the same as Food security Card, ration card etc.,

No application fee is required to be paid by such citizens as per RTI Rules,2012

Enter BPL card number, year of issue, issuing authority in the next field.

• Select the option asNo, if you do not fall under the BPL category or does not hold valid proof for the same. Such candidates are required to be paid application fee of Rs.10/- online.

5. Now in the filed "Text for RTI Request application", provide details and request for certified copies.

There is no prescribed form of the application under the Act, 2005 but, I have referred to application formats of various institutes and have prepared a draft for your reference.

Download the draft application from the below link, in the word document format, enter your details and copy-paste the contents in the prescribed field.

(Application format is given at the end of the article for your reference)
http://bit.ly/Applicationformat

Please note, handwritten application form is not required, Institute process and RTI process both are different platforms.

6. Now, upload merged pdf copy of BPL Card (if applicable) and Hall Ticket/ Admit Card/ any other supporting document like student I'd card, to prove your identity by clicking the supporting document.

7. click on submit button (if BPL category) or Make payment button (Others) to make the payment of Rs. 10/- towards application fee by using Internet banking, credit or debit card and click on the submit button, after making the payment.

8. On submission of the application, a unique registration number would be issued, which may be referred by the applicant for any references in future. The applicant will get an email and SMS alert on submission of the application.

What's next after filing RTI application?

- Just relax and wait for 30 days from the date of your application.

- You are not required to follow-up with the CPIO/ Institute by way of calls, email etc., On receipt of application, Institute will transfer the application to respective CPIO for further action.

- Within 30 days from the date of your RTI application, in reply to your RTI application ICSI will calculate the fees by charging Rs. 2 per page + applicable postal charges and disclose the total fees to be paid.

- Applicable Fee is required to be paid, as certified copies will be provided in hard copy format through speed post, Rs. 2 per page is to be charged as per RTI rules.

- NO Demand Draft/IPO is required to be taken, as you can make the payment at RTI portal itself by clicking on Make Payment link available post login to RTI portal under view status.

- As per ICSI sources, no verification of answer books will be done, there is no such requirement as per RTI rules.

- So, I suggest applying for

- Verification as per ICSI procedure by paying Rs.250 per subject at ICSI exam portal, so that you can know the outcome of the verification of marks.

- Certified Copies at RTI portal

- Please note that re-evaluation of answers is not permissible as per Institute guidelines. So, there is no difference between the certified copy obtained as per ICSI process and RTI process.

What is the last date to apply for Certified Copies under the RTI?

As per the RTI Act, 2005 you can seek the information as far as it is available with the public authority. As per the record retention policy of the ICSI answer Books of Company will be retained for the period of 45 days from the declaration of results of each examination concerned.

So, you can make application for certified copies under RTI upto 45 days from the date of result.

Conclusion

Accessing certified copies through RTI is a thumping Victory for the entire Students Community!

My sincere gratitude is reserved for Advocate Paras Jain sir, Advocate Kumar Shanu sir and Whistle For Public Interest (WHIP) for their invaluable insights and suggestions benefitting millions of students to access information of answer-scripts under RTI.

The author can also be reached at cavinayreddy@icai.org

Right to Information is to make you right thinking Indians

Application format for seeking certified copies/inspection of evaluated answer books

The Joint Secretary (Exams)
The Institute of Company secretaries of India

Subject: Photocopy of Answer book of the Board Examinations under the RTI Act, 2005

Dear Sir,

I have appeared for CS Foundation/Executive/ Professional Examination conducted by the board with the following particulars: -

1. Name of the candidate:
2. Date of Birth:
3. Fathers Name:
4. Contact no:
5. E-mail address:
6. Address for correspondence:
7. Student Registration No:
8. Examination: CS Foundation/ Executive/ Professional

Month:
Year:
Roll No:

Paper No. :Subject

01 :
02 :
03 :
04 :
05 :
06 :
07 :
08 :

The self-attested photocopy of my admit card/ hall ticket is enclosed for verification of my identity. I also undertake that I am the same candidate who appeared in the aforesaid examination. I hereby declare and affirm that the details mentioned above relate to me only and are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. The information may kindly be provided at the given address.

Yours faithfully
(Name)
(Student Registration Number)


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