There have been a lot of attempts by candidates to get a copy of their evaluated answer booklets from the UPSC. Even the supreme court has ordered the Commission to reveal the same in response to affidavits filed by various disgruntled candidates. Most of the requests have been turned down by the USPC and it seems impossible to get a copy of the evaluated answer sheets. The UPSC may have a valid reason for this. The process of evaluation is secretive and because of the high stakes involved, the identity of the examiners must remain a secret. The recruitment is done to one of the highest posts in the country – to the civil services and so the UPSC wants to keep out any form of corruption in this process of evaluation.
The evaluated answer booklet has been revealed only in one instant so far. That was to candidate Gaurav Gupta, on orders of the high court in response to the writ petition he filed in 2012.
The problems in making public the evaluated answer sheets are as follows:
- The process of evaluation is not a simple one where an examiner evaluates an answer booklet. Initially, the head examiner evaluates a few random papers and sets the standard of assessment for all his additional examiners. This standard is expected to be followed by all the examiners. And, to sustain uniformity in the evaluation, the head examiner periodically checks the papers corrected by the additional examiners and makes suitable revisions, i.e., moderation up or down according to the case.
- So, in every paper, there are raw marks awarded first. The final marks awarded to the paper after the process might not be the same as the raw score. In one paper, there can be many corrections in the evaluation because of this.
- Also, there may be corrections because of totaling errors, etc.
- Now, when such an answer sheet is seen by the candidate, he/she might get suspicious about the impartiality of the process, when in reality the process is practiced to ensure uniformity among all the different examiners.
- The whole process and the board may be subject to undue scrutiny if all candidates view their evaluated papers.
- The board argues that relative merit is seen and not absolute merit and so viewing an answer sheet in isolation would be misleading.
- There is also a risk of coaching institutes inducing all their students to get copies of answer sheets.
- It is possible that examiners can also get copies of the answer booklets they had evaluated. When they come to know that their own evaluation was revised, they may feel resentful. This may cause problems for future evaluation.
- There is a real danger of the examiners’ identities being revealed in case the answer sheets are disclosed. This will make them exposed to bribes and threats.
- UPSC currently gets the best professors and experts in the field as examiners because of the condition of anonymity involved. This will be jeopardized in case candidates get to know the identity of the examiners.
Check the 2017 UPSC notification for all the information you need to know on the 2017 UPSC Prelims Exam.
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