Courts can’t award exam marks, says SC

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 After declaring that sky was the limit for its powers to right a wrong, the Supreme Courton Wednesday ruled that courts have no mandate to re-evaluate an answer sheet even if a candidate had been awarded less marks in an examination.

A court cannot substitute its opinion — how much marks should be awarded to a candidate in an answer sheet — to that of an examiner, ruled a bench of Justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik.

Incidentally, the same bench had recently ruled that a candidate not satisfied with his marks was entitled to have a copy of his answer sheet if he made an application under the Right to Information Act.

Wednesday’s ruling came in a case related to one Khusboo Srivastava, who was not satisfied with her marks in the All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Examination, 2007. She had requested the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for re-evaluation.

The CBSE had refused saying it was not permissible under the rules. She then moved the Patna High Court. A single judge bench called for the answer sheets and on re-evaluation felt that Khusboo deserved to get two additional marks, one each in the chemistry and botany papers. But, it refused to allow her to get admitted to the MBBS course.

A division bench agreed with the award of additional marks but also directed CBSE to admit her in the MBBS course in the academic session 2009-10.

CBSE appealed in the Supreme Court. It argued that in the absence of any provision in the relevant rules providing for re-examination or re-evaluation of answer sheets of a candidate, the court could not do so.

The bench of Justices Raveendran and Patnaik noticed that there were earlier apex court rulings that in the absence of any provision for the re-evaluation of answer sheets in the relevant rules, no candidate in an examination had any right to claim or ask for re-evaluation of his marks.

Justice Patnaik, writing the judgment for the bench, said: “In our considered opinion, neither the single judge nor the division bench of the high court could have substituted his/its own views for that of the examiners and awarded two additional marks to Khusboo Shrivastava for the two answers in exercise of powers of judicial review under Article 226 of the Constitution as these are purely academic matters.”

The bench set aside the HC judgment. But, it said: “We are informed that Khusboo was admitted to the MBBS course subsequently. If so, her admission in the MBBS course will not be affected.”


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  1. […] Courts can’t award exam marks, says SC ( Share this:TwitterEmailFacebookStumbleUponPrintRedditDiggLinkedInLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]


    September 5, 2011 at 1:12 am

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