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Rule Making Reevaluated Candidates Ineligible For Award Of Rank/Prizes Unconstitutional: Sikkim High Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
3 Sep 2021 5:01 AM GMT
Rule Making Reevaluated Candidates Ineligible For Award Of Rank/Prizes Unconstitutional: Sikkim High Court
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The High Court of Sikkim held that a Sikkim University regulation that made Reevaluated candidates ineligible for the award of Rank/prizes and medals is unconstitutional.The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai and Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan court held that the provision violates Article 14 of the Constitution since it creates an impermissible classification between...

The High Court of Sikkim held that a Sikkim University regulation that made Reevaluated candidates ineligible for the award of Rank/prizes and medals is unconstitutional.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai and Justice Bhaskar Raj Pradhan court held that the provision violates Article 14 of the Constitution since it creates an impermissible classification between those students who sought re-evaluation and students who did not. Non- consideration of re-evaluated marks for award of a medal, either gold or silver, would amount to punishing the student for seeking re-evaluation even when it is permitted, the court said.

The court also directed the University to grant gold medal to Neha Sharma, who had secured the highest marks in Master of Arts in Sociology for the batch of 2017.

Neha, aggrieved with decision of the University not to award her the gold medal on this ground, had approached the court challenging validity of the last sentence of Clause 10 of the Regulations on Conduct of Examinations of the Sikkim University (the Regulations) which read thus: "........... The Reevaluated candidates, however, shall not be eligible for the award of Rank/prizes and medals as the case may be." She contended that the artificial barrier created between valuation and re-evaluation by Clause 10 of the Regulations do not stand the test of fairness or reasonableness required by Article 14 of the Constitution. The University justified the regulation on the ground that it has the power to make the Regulations under Section 31 of the Act.

The court observed that the provision is discriminatory as it creates an impermissible classification between those students who sought re-evaluation and students who did not.

"A student who has been permitted to seek reevaluation in terms of Clause 6 of the Regulations and her marks considered as the final score post re-evaluation is discriminated vis-à-vis other students who did not seek re-evaluation.", the court said.

The court added that a student can seek re-evaluation only because the Regulations permitted her/him to do so.

"Having thus allowed a student to seek re-evaluation of her/his script by a provision of the Regulations itself, not to have the re-evaluated marks considered for award of a medal, either gold or silver, would amount to punishing the student for seeking re-evaluation even when it is permitted by Clause 6 of the Regulations. It, therefore, directly impinges upon the sacrosanct provision of equality secured by Article 14 of the Constitution of India. Furthermore, the impugned provision does not seem to be in consonance with the scheme of evaluation, re-evaluation and re-scrutiny, improvement of provisions, publication of results, rectification of results and award of degree/medal as contemplated by the Regulations. Reading Clause 6 and Clause 10 of the Regulations sans the impugned provision thereof, together, it is clear that the re-evaluated marks are the final score for purposes of award of medals. In that view of the matter, the impugned provision is ultra vires the rest of the provision of Clause 10 of the Regulations as well. The impugned provision makes the object of Clause 6 and Clause 10 of the Regulations they seek to achieve, ineffective.", the bench said while allowing the writ petition.

The court has also referred to these decisions of various High Courts which examined similar regulations: Nidhi Sharma vs. Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar , Deepa vs. Maharishi Dayanand University, Rothak, Fateh Kumari Sisodia vs State of Rajasthan, Ram Karan vs. University of Raj Jaipur, Rajendrakumar Chandrakant Nadkarni vs. University of Bombay, Anjay Bansal vs Bangalore University, Manoj Kumar Jindal vs Ravishankar University, Raipur and Bhagat Ram Sharma vs The Himachal Pradesh University.


Case: Neha Sharma vs. Sikkim University; WP 36 of 2019

Click here to Read/Download Judgment




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