KATHMANDU, May 19: Upholding a recent decision of the National Information Commission (NIC), the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday ruled that every student who wishes to see his or her exam answer sheets has the right to do so.
The apex court has ordered Tribhuwan University to show students their answer sheets if they so demand, but it has also set some conditions.
The division bench of SC Justices Balaram KC and Abadesh Kumar Yadav said that showing students their answer sheets won´t be troublesome for TU as claimed by the latter.
Responding to a writ petition filed by TU Registrar Bhim Raj Adhikary on behalf of TU, the bench issued a verdict in favor of disgruntled students who had earlier filed an application at NIC demanding that they should have access to their answer sheets.
The apex court has, however, set five conditions for showing students the answer sheets.
First, TU will be responsible for showing answer sheets only to the students concerned and second or third persons cannot see their friends´ answer sheets.
Secondly, TU officials should keep the name of the examiner confidential while providing an answer sheet. Third, TU can impose a certain fee for providing answer sheets. Fourthly, TU should introduce a certain time frame and procedures for providing answer sheets. And fifth, students are strictly prohibited from turning the right to see their answer sheets into a scandal.
TU, however, seems unhappy with the SC decision. "On average, 600,000 students attend TU exams each year," Registrar Adhikary told Republica, adding, "The number of answers sheets for the 600,000 students reaches nearly 1.8 million. What if 50,000 students want to see their answer sheets? It will be quite unmanageable for us. TU cannot spend its entire time just showing students their answer sheets."
Acting on an application filed by Bijaya Aryal, a BBS first year student of Shankardev Campus who scored 6 marks out of 100 in the English subject, NIC had ruled that TU must show answer sheets to students in respect of provisions incorporated in the Right to Information Act.
"It is learnt that Aryal´s answer sheet has already been destroyed by TU as per its own rules," NIC had said in its ruling to TU, adding, "The commission however hereby orders TU to show answer sheets to students in future."
Following the NIC ruling, four colleagues of Aryal from Shankardev Campus, who were also unsatisfied with their marks in English, demanded that TU show them their answer sheets as per the NIC decision.
Keshab Raj Rgmee, Shankar Paudel, Santosh Neupane and Som Dhakal had filed an application at TU to see their answer sheets, saying they were unhappy with their marks. Regmi had passed the exam but Paudel, Neupane and Dhakal had scored only 1, 6 and 17 marks respectively in English.
TU received the four students´ applications but flatly refused to show their answer sheets, pointing out that it was not happy with NIC´s decision and that it was going to file a writ petition at the SC.
"Despite the NIC ruling, we cannot show your answer sheets right now. We will first file a writ petition at the SC against the NIC decision and we can say something about your marks only after the SC issues its verdict. For now we cannot help you," Regmee quoted TU officials as saying some time ago.
The four disgruntled students then went to NIC and lodged a complain that TU had flouted the NIC ruling and refused to provide exam answer sheets as sought by them. NIC again said that the issue had already been settled and TU must show them the answer sheets.
Meantime, Registrar Adhikary, on behalf of TU, filed a writ petition at the SC against the NIC decision and the four students´ application.
Responding to the writ petition, the SC division bench on Wednesday paved the way for students to see their answer sheets. Lawyers Tanka Aryal, Rishi Ram Ghimire and others associated with the Citizen Campaign for Right to Information had pleaded on behalf of the disgruntled students.
In my opinion, SC´s verdict is based on the assumption that Teachers can also commit mistakes. But I don´t think that giving students a chance to see their answers sheets is a proper solution. Papers like History, Sociology, English and many others are subjective and most of the students expect marks merely by filling pages.
In my view, Teachers won´t do mistakes concept shall remain intact. Once the marks were assigned there should be no room for ch