Writ Courts Can Order Revaluation Even When There Is No Provision For It: SC [Read Judgment]
"It is one thing to say that the absence of provision for revaluation will not enable the candidate to claim the right of evaluation as a matter of right and another to say that in no circumstances whatsoever where there is no provision for revaluation will the writ court exercise its undoubted constitutional powers?"
The Supreme Court has held that a writ court is not powerless in 'rare and exceptional' cases to order revaluation even in cases where there is no provision for revaluation.
"The wide power under Article 226 may continue to be available even though there is no provision for revaluation in a situation where a candidate despite having giving correct answer and about which there cannot be even slightest manner of doubt, he is treated as having given the wrong answer and consequently the candidate is found disentitled to any marks.", the bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice KM Joseph said in High Court of Tripura vs. Tirtha Sarathi Mukherjee.
In this case, the Gauhati High Court had, in a Review Petition filed by Mukherjee directed re-evaluation of his answer papers in regard to the selection to the post of Grade-I in Tripura Judicial Service. This judgment was assailed by the Tripura High Court on the ground that the High court was not justified in allowing the Review Petition and directing re-evaluation of papers when there was no provision which entitles the candidate to seek revaluation.
The bench noted a three Judge Bench judgment which had held that there is no legal right to claim or ask for revaluation in the absence of any provision for revaluation. But the bench considered the issue whether despite the absence of any provision, are the courts completely denuded of power in the exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution to direct revaluation? It said:
"The question however arises whether even if there is no legal right to demand revaluation as of right could there arise circumstances which leaves the Court in any doubt at all. A grave injustice may be occasioned to a writ applicant in certain circumstances. The case may arise where even though there is no provision for revaluation it turns out that despite giving the correct answer no marks are awarded. No doubt this must be confined to a case where there is no dispute about the correctness of the answer. Further, if there is any doubt, the doubt should be resolved in favour of the examining body rather than in favour of the candidate."
The Court further said:
"Can the writ court become helpless despite the vast reservoir of power which it possesses? It is one thing to say that the absence of provision for revaluation will not enable the candidate to claim the right of evaluation as a matter of right and another to say that in no circumstances whatsoever where there is no provision for revaluation will the writ court exercise its undoubted constitutional powers? We reiterate that the situation can only be rare and exceptional."
However, the bench set aside the High court judgment on the other grounds raised in the appeal.