Madras HC Rules in Favour of the Authorities in FMGE Examination, Finds Writ Petitions Against the Exam Void of Merit

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Three aspirants of Foreign Medical Examinations moved to the High Court by filing a Writ Petition under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. They challenged Part I & II of the said examination on nine grounds. It was demanded by the petitioners that the Court should intervene in the matter, rule out erroneous questions and allot appropriate grace marks to them. The case was heard and decided upon by Hon’ble Justice N. Anand Venkatesh. 

Facts of the Case:

The Court considered a total of nine similar natured Writ Petitions. The relief sought in all Writ Petitions was the issuance of the writ of mandamus. The writ should direct the respondents viz. National Medical Commission, National Board of Examinations, and Union of India to constitute an independent expert committee to evaluate the question papers of both part I and part II papers of the Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE). 

The petitioners have to qualify for a screening test to practice medicine in India. This mandatory requirement is provided under Section 13(4A) of the Medical Council of India Act, 1956. The National Medical Commission has issued guidelines as required under section 13(4A) of the Act, which resulted in the Screening Test Regulations, 2002. The National Board of Examinations was appointed as the prescribed Authority for conducting the screening tests. This Authority conducts the test and publishes the result, and thereafter, the result is handed over to the National Medical Commission. This test is conducted twice a year, in June and in December. The exams this year got postponed owing to the pandemic. It was conducted on 31.08.2020.  

There is no provision for re-totaling or revaluation. There is also no scope for publishing the question paper or the answer key after the examination. The standard of the questions that can be asked is at the level of the final year M.B.B.S course. This position was clarified by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Sajeev Gupta and others Vs. Union of India and another 

Arguments Before the Court:

The Counsel for the Petitioners submitted a total of nine points and challenged Part I &II of the examination. The points made related to the level of questions asked being of post-graduate level, the verbosity or lengthiness of 50 questions or so, framing of questions or answers wrongly, the logos containing writing in Hindi which was incomprehensible by non-Hindi students, and the pass percentage being abnormally low this year. 

The Counsel further argued that if the respondents were unwilling to circulate the question papers and the key answers on the ground of confidentiality, the only option left was to appoint an expert committee to evaluate the question papers. The report passed by such committee may be perused by the Court and appropriate orders be given.

The Counsel for the respondents submitted that grounds raised by the Petitioners are void of any merit. The Counsel submitted that nearly 20 experts from various specialties were appointed for the post-exam question paper review and this expert committee was not able to find a single incorrect question. 

It was further argued that all the questions that were asked during the examination were at Final year M.B.B.S as opposed to what is maintained by the Petitioners. The Counsel also maintained that non-disclosure of question papers is to avoid question banks as followed in many of the professional examinations like IIM entrance examination. 

Court’s Observations:

The Court observed that the only issue at contention was whether it should constitute an independent expert committee to evaluate the question papers of the FMG examination. 

The Court noted that it is unordinary for it to interfere with the findings of the expert bodies in technical and scientific matters in the exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 226. This Court has absolutely no clue to understand either the question or the answer.

Medicine is a field that is exclusively within the domain of experts. In the present case, after the completion of the examination, a committee consisting of 20 experts from various disciplines were appointed to review the questions and the key answers, post the examination. The Court duly noted that the experts have spent nearly 4 days to review the post-examination question paper. 

If in case the committee appointed by this Court gives a different report, this Court is not competent enough to give a finding as to which expert committee is right in its finding. Therefore, this Court cannot appoint one more committee to review the question paper and such an exercise will be beyond the scope of jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. 

Court’s Order:

The Court did not find any merit in the Writ Petitions and the same was dismissed. 

Read the original judgment here. 


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