28 July 2022 7:30 AM GMT
The Tripura High Court recently allowed an appeal filed by the Controller of Examinations and observed that in the event of doubt over correctness of answer key, the benefit should go to the examination authority rather than to the candidate. The observation was made by a division bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice SG Chattopadhya: "In the instant case, none of...
The Tripura High Court recently allowed an appeal filed by the Controller of Examinations and observed that in the event of doubt over correctness of answer key, the benefit should go to the examination authority rather than to the candidate.
The observation was made by a division bench of Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice SG Chattopadhya:
"In the instant case, none of the options given in the multiple choice questions appear to be demonstrably wrong. Situated thus, the ratio decided by the Apex Court in Ran Vijay Singh & Ors. (Supra) must be followed by us where the Apex Court has held that Court should presume the correctness of the key answers and proceed on that assumption and in the event of doubt, the benefit should go to the examination authority rather than to the candidate."
One Sangita Chakraborty (respondent) had challenged the exam result of Tripura Teachers' Eligibility Test 2018 on the ground that answers to question Nos.101, 79, 41, 69, 82 and 83 were decided by the exam authority erroneously. She was declared unsuccessful in the exam, purportedly due to said error.
She had filed a writ petition in this regard, wherein the Single judge examined the question and answers and after hearing both counsels opined that unless there was a glaring error which emerges ex-facie from the record, role of the Court in dissecting the correctness or otherwise of the decision of an expert body in such cases would be extremely limited.
Based on the above, the Single Judge examined the questions and the conflicting answers and came to the conclusion that marks awarded for question Nos. 79,41 and 69 call for no interference. Insofar as, question Nos. 82 and 83 are concerned, the Single Judge was of the view that there were ambiguity and imperfection in those questions and there were possibility of more answers than one being correct which destroyed the validity of the question itself. The Single Judge, therefore, held that both the questions must be discarded for Evaluation and that the petitioner should have been awarded 1 (one) mark for the answer given by her. Aggrieved by this, the examination authority preferred the instant appeal.
The government counsel before the division bench relied upon the Apex Court in the case of Ran Vijay Singh & Ors. vs. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (2018) 2 SCC 357, where it was held that the Court should not at all re-evaluate or scrutinize the answer sheets of a candidate since it has no expertise in the matter and the academic matters should be left to the academics. It was further held therein that Court should presume the correctness of the answer key and proceed on that assumption. In the same case it was also held that where there are conflicting views, the Court should accept the opinion of the experts.
According to the State counsel, in the instant case, the answer key was prepared by a Committee of experts and there is, therefore, no scope to interfere with the result.
Counsel appearing for the Respondent contended that the Single Judge has rightly discarded question Nos.82 and 83 for the purpose of evaluation on the ground that the question themselves are ambiguous and imperfect which invite more than one correct answer. The petitioner argued that where the validity of the questions are in doubt, the petitioner cannot be given lesser marks on the ground that she gave wrong answers to those questions. He further contended that the petitioner produced several publications approved by the State authorities before the Single Judge to establish that the answer given by her to question No.101 was correct.
The High Court relied on the judgement passed by Apex court in Kanpur University, through Vice-Chancellor & Ors. vs. Samir Gupta & Ors. reported in (1983) 4 SCC 309 wherein it was held that for interference by the Court, the key answer must be clearly demonstrated to be wrong, i.e. to say it must be such as no reasonable body of men well-versed in the particular subject would regard it as correct.
In view of the above judgment the court noted that the Respondent could not establish that the key answers were demonstrably wrong. "It is no case of the writ petitioner (respondent herein) that the paper-setter gave wrong options in the multiple choice question paper. Therefore, the present case is distinguishable," Court said
Accordingly, the court set aside the single judge order and disposed of the appeal.
Case Title: The State of Tripura and Ors. v. Smt. Sangita Chakraborty
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Trip) 23
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment