19 Aug 2022 8:00 AM GMT
The Gujarat High Court has held that it is not open for the Court to undertake the task of ascertaining the correctness of examination answer keys and the same must be left to the discretion of field experts."Whichever option is chosen, there will be some candidates who are likely to suffer," Justice Biren Vaishnav said while rejecting a petition assailing the correctness of the answer keys...
The Gujarat High Court has held that it is not open for the Court to undertake the task of ascertaining the correctness of examination answer keys and the same must be left to the discretion of field experts.
"Whichever option is chosen, there will be some candidates who are likely to suffer," Justice Biren Vaishnav said while rejecting a petition assailing the correctness of the answer keys of examinations held for the posts of Lok Rakshaks (Class-III). The Single Judge Bench reiterated:
"…when there are conflicting views, judges are not expected to act as experts in the fields and overstep."
The Petitioners herein were claiming that the Recruitment Board had wrongly cancelled a few questions while a few answers in the key were wrong which had resulted in loss of marks and ultimately, non-appointment.
The Petitioner went through each of these questions and alluded to the GCERT and the NCERT books which were considered reliable materials to assail the answer key. An additional averment was that as per Appendix 3 of the advertisement that stated that each correct answer would earn one mark and each wrong answer would carry a negative mark of 0.25. However, this rule was altered by the authorities by prescribing 1.02 marks for right answers and -0.255 for wrong answers.
The Recruitment Board, per contra, defended the answer key by stating that it was designed in consultation with experts, after inviting objections from the candidates. Further, the Court would have limited and restricted jurisdiction to sit and reassess the answers in a recruitment process for 1000 posts and 9 lakh applications. As regards the issue of change in marking pattern, the Board responded that the same was brought in as an adjustment for 98 questions since 2 questions were cancelled.
The High Court observed that for about 10,450 posts, there were 9.4 lac applicants and consequently, a written examination was required to be held. After the publication of the answer key, the Board received 80 objections and the same were either incorporated or addressed through explanations after taking into account GCERT and NCERT books.
Relying on Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission, Through Its Chairman And Another v. Rahul Singh and Another, the High Court said it is well settled that it is the onus on the candidate to not only demonstrate that the key answer is incorrect but also that it is a glaring mistake which is totally apparent and no inferential process or reasoning is required.
Further, there is always an assumption that the answer key published is correct unless proved clearly wrong which was lacking in the instant case. Thus, the High Court declined to 'fall into an exercise of undertaking an inferential process of reasoning' for the questions challenged by the Petitioners.
Lastly, the Bench, while referring to Vikesh Kumar Gupta v. State of Rajasthan and reiterated thus:
"Court should not re-evaluate or scrutinize the answer sheets of a candidate as it has no expertise in the matters and the academic matters are best left to academics."
Accordingly, the petitions were dismissed.
Case No.: C/SCA/11978/2022
Case Title: JIGAR BHARATSINGH KSHATRIYA v/s STATE OF GUJARAT
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Guj) 337
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