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Mayank Garg Vs. Delhi High Court - (High Court of Delhi) (12 Sep 2022)

Court may exercise powers under Article 226 of the Constitution to provide appropriate relief when it is established that there is a manifest error in evaluation of examination papers

MANU/DE/3386/2022

Education

The Petitioner has filed the present petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950 praying that direction be issued to the Respondent ('DHC') to 'recheck/re-examine/reassess' the Petitioner's answer-sheets in respect of examination paper, Law-III. The petitioner has scored 89 marks out of the maximum of 200 marks in the said paper. This is one mark short of qualifying threshold of 45%. The petitioner's aggregate marks of all papers is 437 marks out of a maximum of 750 marks. This is the highest amongst all unsuccessful candidates and is significantly higher than the qualifying cut off of 50%. The petitioner has been eliminated from the competitive examination for appointment to Delhi Higher Judiciary Services, solely on account of not securing 45% marks in the examination paper, Law-III.

The principal question that falls for consideration of this court is whether the Petitioner is entitled to seek re-evaluation of his answer-sheets in respect of the examination paper, Law-III.

The Petitioner is a meritorious candidate and the same is evidenced by the fact that he has scored significantly higher marks in all papers other than the examination paper of Law-III. He was short by only one mark, which translates to 0.5%. He has secured 44.5% in paper of Law-III, which is below the qualifying marks as stipulated. There is no cavil with the provision that in cases where the court finds that there is manifest error in the marking system; failure to follow the procedure; or a systemic failure of the examination/selection scheme, the court can exercise the powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to remedy the same.

Undoubtedly, this is a hard case where a meritorious candidate has not met the requisite cut-off. However, this Court is unable to accept that there is any manifest error in the marking system or any systematic failure. There is no credible challenge to the relevant rules or any allegation that the procedure as prescribed has not been followed. Undeniably, the marking in examination of paper Law-I and Law-III has been strict. It is apparent that even though the marking has been somewhat strict, sufficient number of candidates have secured the qualifying marks.

Thus, in rare and exceptional cases, where it is established that there is a manifest error in evaluation of examination papers, the court may exercise powers under Article 226 of the Constitution of India to provide appropriate relief. In cases where it is established that the right of candidates for a fair evaluation in accordance with the specified procedure has been impinged, it may be necessary for the courts to exercise power to ensure that the rights of examinees are preserved.

The present case is undoubtedly a hard case but present Court is unable to accept that there is any manifest error in evaluation of the answer sheets that warrants any interference by this Court. It is relevant to note that answers to the questions set in the paper for Law-III were essay type questions and were evaluated subjectively. To ensure consistency, the answer-sheets were evaluated by the same examiner. In the given facts, this Court is unable to accept that any interference in the marks awarded to the petitioner is permissible, or any direction can be issued for revaluation of answer sheets, in exercise of its power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. Petition dismissed.

Tags : RE-EVALUATION   ANSWER-SHEETS   ENTITLEMENT  

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