22 July 2023 4:30 AM GMT
The Supreme Court recently set aside an order of the Delhi High Court that permitted re-evaluation of the answer script of a candidate for the Delhi Higher Judicial Main Examination 2022 on the ground that there was no ‘material error’ warranting interference.The Delhi High Court had allowed re-evaluation of question No.9 of Law Paper-I of the candidate, after his representation had...
The Supreme Court recently set aside an order of the Delhi High Court that permitted re-evaluation of the answer script of a candidate for the Delhi Higher Judicial Main Examination 2022 on the ground that there was no ‘material error’ warranting interference.
The Delhi High Court had allowed re-evaluation of question No.9 of Law Paper-I of the candidate, after his representation had been considered and rejected by a committee of 6 judges of the High Court. Against the order of the High Court, the registrar general of the Delhi High Court had approached the Apex Court.
Agreeing with the Appellant that in light of Section 134(2) of the Trademarks Act, 1999, the answer to question No.9 of Law Paper-I of the respondent was wrong and the examiner was right in giving him ‘zero marks’ for it, the division bench of Justice C T Ravikumar and Justice Manoj Misra observed:
“the respondent got no case that Section 134 (2) of the Trade Mark Act, 1999 is not the specific provision applicable as relates question No.9 of Law Paper-I and therefore, we are at a loss to understand as to how he could attribute ‘material error’ warranting interference in exercise of power under Article 136 of the Constitution of India.”
The contention of the appellant was that under Clause 3 XII, Rule 7C of the Appendix to the Delhi Higher Judicial Service Rules, 1970 (DHJS Rules) re-evaluation of answer sheets is prohibited.
On the other hand, the respondent candidate relied on Clause XV and Clause XII of the DHJS Rules to contend that re-evaluation was permissible and that there is no absolute prohibition.
The Apex Court made reference to the decision in Ran Vijay Singh V. State of Uttar Pradesh [(2018) 2 SCC 357] which held that that if a statute governing an exam does not permit re-evaluation or scrutiny of an answer sheet, the court may still permit re-evaluation if it is demonstrated that a material error has been committed without any “inferential process of reasoning or a process of rationalisation”. Such scrutiny/ re-evolution is only to be allowed in rare and exceptional cases.
The Top Court set aside the order in light of the prohibition under the DHS Rules and the lack of material error:
“We are of the considered view in the light of the specific prohibition in Clause XII of Rule 7 of the DHJS Rules for re-evaluation as also in view of our conclusion that there is no ‘material error’ in the evaluation warranting an interfering with the decision of the petitioner herein”
Case Title: Registrar General, High Court of Delhi V. Ravinder Singh, Special Leave Petition (C) No.3144 of 2023
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 553
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