In this post we will discuss about the recent judgment of Punjab and Haryana High Court wherein it was held that courts can’t act as “super examiner” and order re-evaluation of answer sheets unless exceptional cases such as establishment of material error in the answer key and dismisses plea for re-evaluation.
Courts can’t act as ‘super examiner’ and order re-evaluation of paper, rules Punjab and Haryana HC
The petitioner Nishant Singh Dutta, was seeking for re-evaluation of his English language paper wherein he could not qualify Punjab civil service exam (judicial branch) – 2019 for interview stage by 0.37 marks conducted by Punjab Public Service Commission.
The court had framed two issues -whether court should interfere in the case where Multiple ChoiceQuestions (MCQs) are under dispute and whether courts can order re-evaluation of answer sheets in Subjective Examinations. The HC bench of justice Jaswant Singh and Sant Prakash dismissed a plea for re-evaluation.
DICISION BY PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT
The Punjab and Haryana high court held that court can’t act as “super examiner” and order re-evaluation of answer sheets
The court said that for MCQ Exams, even with a specific bar on re-evaluation of answer sheets there cannot be complete ‘hands – off’ approach by the court. The interference of the court depends upon the facts of the case and has never suggested the complete hands-off approach, even if an examination is conducted under supervision of a subject expert. In exceptional cases, court can permit for re-evaluation even when it is not permitted under statute, rule, regulation governing the examination. ‘‘For that it needs to be established that a material error has been committed in the answer key’’ it added.
“For the subjective type answers where the marking has been uniformly done, the courts are required to adopt a hands-off approach while entertaining a prayer for re-evaluation” the bench said , adding that merely knowing the correct answer was not important for the examiner but answering it correctly using grammar was paramount, which is best examined by expert. These factors cannot be considered by the courts. The court can never sit as a court of appeal on the making done by examiner and sit in the armchair of an examiner and find true intent behind his/her marking, the bench added.
An argument was raised that issue should be viewed sympathetically as the candidate missed his chance by whisker, the court observed that there is no sympathy/empathy in the matter of recruitment. “There will always be some candidates who will fall out of zone of consideration, may be by huge margin or whisker. The court cannot be permitted awarding marks out of compassion, as it would run against the underlying principle of selection based on merit,” it reasoned.
The viewing of the case sympathetically leads to arbitrariness. It is negation of equality. Sympathy isn’t a reasonable ground to award marks as a candidate missed his chance by whisker. Arbitrariness occurs when the classification is made without any specific reason, it amounts to be discriminatory in nature which proves to go against very nature of constitution.
The petitioner missed his chance by whisker to qualify Punjab Civil Services Exam. It was held that the courts can’t act as “super examiner” and order re-evaluation of answer sheets unless exceptional cases such as establishment of material error in the answer key and dismisses plea for re-evaluation.
This post is written by Chathurya
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