Delhi HC Orders Re-draw Of DJS-2018 Prelims Results, 2 Qs To Be Deleted, One Will Have 2 Correct Answers
In a decision affecting hundreds of Delhi Judicial Service aspirants, the Delhi High Court has directed the Registrar General to re-draw the results of DJS-2018 preliminary examinations with two questions in the question booklet series 'B' to be deleted, answer to one question being revised in the answer key and the court ordering that in answer to one particular question, two of the four options be considered the "most appropriate answer".
The order has been passed by a bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Prateek Jalan on a petition moved by six DJS-2018 aspirants who could not clear the preliminary examination by small margins.
Their advocate Prashant Manchanda had initially challenged seven demonstrably erroneous questions.
On January 29, the Registrar General sought an adjournment following which Examination-Cum-Judicial Education and Training Programme Committee held a meeting and it was resolved that that resolved that in view of the objections raised by the petitioners, two questions, namely questions at Serial Nos. 114 and 120 of the "B" series question paper booklet should be deleted and one mark should be awarded to all the candidates who have appeared in the aforesaid examination. The Committee was also of the considered view that so far as question No. 191 in the "B" series question paper is concerned, the answer key should be revised and the correct answer be read as Option (2), in place of Option (1). The minutes of the said meeting have been approved by Hon'ble the Chief Justice.
The two questions which will be deleted and for which one mark will be awarded to all candidates who took the examination are:;
Q.114 A court can stop the proceedings of a case under section 258 Cr.P.C. in which of the following cases?
Q. No.120 The magistrate has power to issue commission for examination of witness in prison under which section of the Indian Penal Code?
Q. 191 for which the answer key would be revised is : A bank has loaned money to B on 2nd January 2015. The limitation available to the bank for suing for recovery of said monies from B expires on.
Besides this, one question which was pressed by the petitioner as containing two most appropriate answer of the four given options is Q. 183 : Estoppel (1) Is an equitable principle (2) Is a rule of common law (3) Is a principle evolved by judicial pronouncement (4) Is codified in Indian law. The correct answer as per the answer key is Option (4).
Manchanda challenged the answer in the answer key and said in so far as question No.183 is concerned, options (1) and (4) are equally appropriate answers, and of the said two options, it cannot be said that one – or the other, is the more appropriate option.
Agreeing with his contention, the court ordered, "We direct the respondent to treat option (1) i.e. "is an equitable principle" and option (4) i.e. "is codified in Indian Law" as equally "most appropriate answers‖ in respect of question No. 183 in the series "B" question booklet".
"Thus, all those candidates, who have marked option (1) as the correct answer, as well as those candidates who have marked option (4) as the correct answer for the said question, should be awarded 1 mark," it ordered.
"The respondent should re-draw the result of the preliminary examination after taking into account the decision arrived at by the Examination-Cum-Judicial Education and Training Programme Committee in its meeting held on 29.01.2019, which has been approved by the Hon'ble The Chief Justice, as well as in the light of our present decision before proceeding to hold the main examination.
"If, as a consequence of the aforesaid exercise, any of the petitioners meet the eligibility for being permitted to take the main examination and they also rank within the 10 times number of vacancies advertised, they should be permitted to do so," directed the bench.
While deciding the petition, the bench relied on Sumit Kumar v. High Court of Delhi & Anr and observed, "No doubt, the purpose of holding a competitive examination like the one in question is to test, inter alia, the knowledge, clarity and intelligence of the candidates, and to sift the best from the whole lot. For this purpose, the respondent has undertaken the exercise of providing 4 options to each question. The standard adopted by the respondent, evidently, is high in as much, as, the options are not in black or white. There is a lot of grey in the said options. The more meritorious candidates are expected to crack such tricky questions and to come up with the "most appropriate answers". However, even the most meritorious of candidates can fail, when confronted with a situation like the present where two or more options in answer to a question appear to be equally appropriate. A candidate cannot be made to suffer on account of his having chosen one option and not the other.
The DJS-2018 examination was conducted on January 13 for 50 vacancies. A candidate who secures a minimum of 60% marks i.e. 120 marks out of 200 and obtains a rank within 10 times the number of vacancies advertised, is eligible to participate in the main examination.
The six petitioners who had challenged the questions and the marks they obtained are: Prabhjot Singh, who had obtained 119.75 marks; Anjali Goswami (119.50 marks), Anu Kumari (119 marks), Nidhi Saroj (118 marks), Pariksha (117.50) and Vijayshree Rathore (107.25).
The bench, however, dismissed the challenge to the belated publication of answer keys without inviting objections.
"…the procedure adopted by the respondent of publishing the result of the preliminary examination without first uploading the answer key and inviting objections, cannot be faulted. No prejudice has been suffered by the petitioners, since answer key was uploaded well before the holding of the main examination on the basis of the result declared, and the petitioners have had their opportunity to ventilate their grievance before this Court," said the bench while holding the challenge to the same as "academic".