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Don’t interfere, leave re-evaluation of answer sheets to academics: SC

NEW DELHI: Expressing strong disapproval of Judicial Interference in examination processes leading to long delay in declaration of results, the Supreme Court barred courts from re-evaluating candidates’ answer sheets on complaints that they had been short-changed in evaluation.

This ruling came in a case relating to recruitment of trained graduate teachers (TGTs) in Uttar Pradesh. More than 36,000 candidates had appeared in the written exam conducted by UP Secondary Education Services Selection Board way back in January 2009.

The test was based on multiple choice answers to be scanned on OMR sheets. Results were declared in June 2010 and candidates were called for interview in July 2010. Combined result was declared in September 2010. Some unsuccessful candidates moved the Allahabad high court. While one batch was dismissed by a single judge bench, petitions by another batch of candidates were entertained.

The SC judgment described the consequences of such judicial interference by opening its judgment in this way, “What a mess! This is perhaps the only way to describe the events that have transpired in the examination conducted by the UP Board.”

The results were declared twice earlier but stayed by the HC. The SC gave the board two weeks to declare the results finalised as per the HC orders on November 2, 2015. While resolving the mess in recruitment of TGTs in UP, created mainly because of judicial interference in ordering re-evaluation of answer sheets of certain unsuccessful candidates, a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta barred courts from interfering in evaluation in future.

The bench laid down five cardinal principles, culling out from various earlier decisions of the apex court, for the courts to follow while entertaining an unsuccessful candidate’s petition questioning the examination process. These are:

* Courts should not reevaluate or scrutinise answer sheets of a candidate, it has no expertise in the matter and academic matters are best left to academics

* If a statute, rule or regulation governing an examination permits re-evaluation or scrutiny of an answer sheet as a matter of right, then the authority conducting the examination may permit it

* If it does not permit reevaluation or scrutiny of answer sheet (as distinct from prohibiting it), then the court may permit re-evaluation or scrutiny only if it is demonstrated very clearly, without any ‘inferential process of reasoning or by a process of rationalisation’ and only in rare and exceptional cases, that a material error has been committed

* The court should presume the correctness of the key answers and proceed on that assumption * In the event of doubt, the benefit should go to the examination authority rather than to the candidate.

Source : timesofindia

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Don’t interfere, leave re-evaluation of answer sheets to academics: SC


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