Libertatem Magazine

Delhi High Court Rules That Independent Evaluation of Candidate’s Answer Generally Falls Beyond Scope of the Court

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Facts of the Case

The Petitioner had appeared for the All India Senior Secondary Exam 2020, and upon the declaration of result, she was not satisfied with her marks in 2 subjects. She claimed that her marks had been erroneously deducted in seven questions. To get her grievance addressed she followed the due procedure, as set out in the Circular released by CBSE (The Respondent) for “(I) Verification of Marks, (II) Obtaining Photocopy of the Evaluated Answer Book(s), (III) Re-evaluation of Marks” which later led to the revision of her final scores in both the subjects. However, the Petitioner was unsatisfied with the outcome. Hence, she approached the Court with the prayer to direct the Respondent to issue a comprehensive plan for revaluation of the answer sheets, and to re-evaluate the answer sheet of the Petitioner as per standard model specimen answer issued by the Respondent or give a reason for the marks awarded to her after re-evaluation.

Submissions of the Counsel for the Petitioner

The learned Counsel for the Petitioner criticized the Respondent’s method for re-evaluation, as it did not provide any reasoning for addition or deduction of marks. He also submitted that the process was arbitrary and discretionary, and it did not provide for any appeal or review after the process of re-evaluation.

Submissions of the Counsel for the Respondent

The learned Counsel for the Respondent argued that re-evaluation of answer scripts could not be claimed as a right, and was always subject to the rules laid down by the examining authority. She also drew the Judge’s attention towards the contents of the affidavit filed by the Respondent in respect of the scale of the examinations conducted by it, to highlight the practical challenges.

Decision by the Court

The Court dismissed the petition and found no arbitrariness or unreasonableness in the Respondent’s guidelines for evaluation.

Analysis by Court

The Court, on the very outset, acknowledged that the scope of writs’ in matters of re-evaluation was very limited. Upon analyzing the arguments put forth by the Counsel of both the Petitioner and the Respondent, the judge observed that an opportunity for re-evaluation of answer sheets could not be claimed by candidates in any examination as a right and could only be exercised if the same had been laid out in the rules governing the examination. While scrutinizing CBSE’s guidelines, the Court found there was no arbitrariness or unreasonableness as claimed by the Petitioner. It was further observed that the Petitioner had not made out a case for grant of relief in this petition and the petition was dismissed.

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