Friday, September 17, 2010

Re: [rti_india] Re: Treesa Irish wins at last


(d) information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;
This is the exception claimed on an answer sheet? I doubt it would ever validly stand. A postman writing a departmental exam, or a student writing his board exam or an examiner who values the papers does not do it in
'commercial confidence'

Is there a Trade secret there? Is it trade to write exams and value answer sheets?

And yes.. intellectual property. Intellectual property refers to original thought. Not the mugging of text books we expect from our students and examinees.

And does it harm the competitive position of a third party when I know how my answer is valued, or if it was valued at all? It does not. The competitive position protected is not the position gained by a candidate by paying some bribe to examiner, where the examiner is induced to give lesser marks to another. The competitive position sought to be protected is only the one legally available. If some one demands the answer key before the exam, or the question paper before the exam, 8(1)(d) does apply. It does not otherwise.

But then, law is dynamic. I do not think the day when this exception, howsoever absurd it seems to me will be raised by a pio. I only hope that the commisisons, activists, and the courts will rise to the occassion, though delayed, to face it and demolish it.


On 17 September 2010 19:56, sarbajitr <> wrote:

Dear Hariraj

Good that some aspects of the exam papers debate has been resolved by this long delayed order.

2 things from the judgment.

a) "7. At the outset I express my strong displeasure in the 3rd
respondent being represented by the 1st respondent and the 1st
respondent filing a counter affidavit on behalf of the 3rd respondent
also, no action to cure which has been taken by the 3rd respondent,
despite the petitioner pointing out the same in her reply affidavit. The Central Information Commission is an independent statutory, quasi-
judicial authority, whose interest is not common with the other
respondents since the 3rd respondent has to often render decisions
adverse to the other respondents. Therefore the 1st respondent could
not have filed a counter affidavit on behalf of the Commission also. In fact the same counsel could not have represented the Commission and
the other respondents. Here it may be noted that the State Information Commission is represented by a separate standing counsel in this court and they defend their orders independently. Therefore the third respondent would do well in future to act accordingly. I leave it at that."

b) Irrespective of what Prakash Kardaley / Hum Janenge and the CIC opined in this matter, this group felt that the exemption applicable was 8(1)(d). This exemption is still open.


--- In, "Hariraj M.R." <harirajmr@...> wrote:
> Dear Friends,
> I hope we all remember Treesa Irish, the first case where the CIC held that
> valued answersheets had been exempted from disclosure under RTI Act, as they
> are information available in fiduciary relation and one relating to personal
> information. The matter was subject of discussion in most of the email
> groups. I was engaged by Treesa to challenge the said order in high court of
> kerala.
> Much water has flowed under the bridge after that. But unfortunately a
> single judge of the High Court in another case had held that valued
> answersheets were not disclosable under the act. Finally when Treesa Irish's
> case came up for hearing, we had to face the precedential pressure from that
> judgment also.
> Finally theHigh court of Kerala has held that Valued answersheets are in no
> way exempted from disclosure. the judgment is here.
> I must note here with great gratitude that the support and encouragement
> from the activists far and wide was the biggest force behind us. I remember
> with great reverence the help rendered by Prakash Kardale, the founder of
> Hum Janenge and the friends there in this effort. I am sure, half of my
> research was done by them. I also place on record the help of Jayashankar,
> Advocate, who then was a student of NUALS, Kochi, who brought me a lot of
> material to support the case of Treesa. On behalf of Treesa, I thank each of
> those great minds who supported us in this venture.

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