Answer Key Publication Promotes Transparency and Allows Corrective Measures by Examining Body: Supreme Court

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Supreme Court of India ruled that publication of key answer gives an opportunity to candidates to assess the correctness of their response and raise objections if any.

Facts Of The Case

Appellants had appeared in School Lecturer Exam 2015 conducted by Rajasthan Public Service Commission. The written test was conducted pursuant thereto, and key answers were published. Some of the candidates questioned the key answers and even claimed that some questions were wrongly framed. Writ Petition was filed raising the above-mentioned issues. Learned Single Judge gave directions for constituting the Expert Committee to examine as to whether the key to the answer is correct. Expert Committee after examining the answer key deleted 18 questions and corrected answers to some questions. Petitioners filed another writ petitions challenging the report of Expert Committee. Writ Petition was dismissed by learned Division Bench of the High Court. Petitioner preferred an appeal in Supreme Court. The Bench ordered the appointment of Expert Committee to re-examine the grievances of the appellants and submit a status report.

Issues and Arguments Raised

The main Issue before the Bench was regarding the correctness of final key answers as uploaded by the Commission after considering objections thereto. Counsel for appellants submitted that weightage of questions which were deleted were redistributed in the remaining questions instead of allocating it to only those students who attempted deleted questions was bad in law and Expert Committee answered some questions incorrectly. Counsel for respondents submitted that all the grievances were answered by the expert committee and result of non-selected candidates was revised.

Decision Of The Case

Supreme Court of India after listening both the sides said that they agree with the report of Expert Committee and all objections raised by the appellants a with. Supreme Court relied on the precedent of Kanpur University, through its Vice-Chancellor and other v. Samir Gupta and Others and Manish Ujwal and Ors. v.  Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati University and Ors. where facts of the case were similar. Supreme Court in both of these cases ruled that usually when key answers are published it should not be questioned but if there is an error in the key answer then Court can decide on the correctness of the key answers.

In the present case, the Supreme Court agreed with the contention of respondent and ruled that report of the Expert Committee was correct, they had dealt with all the objections raised and there was no error in key answers released by the Expert Committee.

Moreover, the Supreme Court also said that Redistribution of marks with regard to deleted questions weight be the to arbitrary and irrational. The method adopted by the committee was uniform and it benefitted all the candidates.

The Bench further directed the Rajasthan Public Service Commission to revise the result of all those candidates who were not selected , release the cut off marks of last selected candidates in respective categories included in the select list, Offer appointments to all those candidates who cleared the cut-off against the remaining vacancies within 3 months after completion of all the formalities.

Author’s Opinion

This is a welcome decision as this will promote transparency and also make universities hold the examinations the with clockwork precision.

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