Opportunity for re-evaluation of answer sheets cannot be claimed by candidates in any examination as a right: The High Court of Delhi

In the absence of any specific provision conferring such a right upon an examinee to have her answer books revaluated, no such direction can be issued by the Court. Admittedly, there is no provision in the Rules of the CBSE that provides for revaluation by an independent examiner and therefore, such a prayer cannot be acceded to. The aforesaid judgment was given by the High Court of Delhi by a single judge bench comprising Justice Prateek Jalan in the case of Shreem Mittal v. Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) [W.P.(C) 7183/2020 & CM APPLs. 24289/2020, 27918/2020] on 31ST May 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. The petitioner was a student of Bal Bharti Public School, Pitampura, Delhi. She appeared for the Senior Secondary School (Class XII) Examinations, 2020 conducted by the CBSE. The petitioner was not satisfied with the marks awarded to her in Political Science (Subject Code: 028) and Economics (Subject Code: 030). She therefore invoked the procedure for “(I) Verification of Marks, (II) Obtaining Photocopy of the Evaluated Answer Book(s), (III) Re-evaluation of Marks”, as set out in the Circular. She therefore expected an increase of 7 marks in her examinations but after revaluation, the total increase amounted to only 2 marks which was far below her expectations.

The submissions of the counsel are as follows. Learned counsel for the petitioner, submitted in the course of argument that he assails the CBSE’s method for re-evaluation, as it does not provide any reasoning for addition or deduction of marks and that the process is arbitrary and discretionary, inasmuch as it does not provide for any appeal or review after the process of re-evaluation. On the other hand, Ms Seema Dolo, learned counsel for the CBSE, submitted that re-evaluation of answer scripts cannot be claimed as a right, and is always subject to the rules laid down by the examining authority. Ms. Dolo submitted that the petitioner, having invoked the modalities mentioned in the Circular, cannot now seek modification of the same.

In its verdict, the court relied on the views taken in the various cases including Ran Vijay Singh & Ors. v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (2018) 2 SCC 357, Bihar Staff Selection Commission & Ors. v. Arun Kumar & Ors. (2020) 6 SCC 362 (paragraph 25) and Vikesh Kumar Gupta & Anr. v. State of Rajasthan & Ors. (2021) 2 SCC 309 and the case was dismissed based on the following reasons. The court stated that “In the instant case, as noted above, a procedure for evaluation has been prescribed by the respondent/CBSE and in the absence of any fact disclosing any bias, malafides, non-consideration of the relevant factors etc., and no ground for interference in judicial review is made out. 18. The appellant may be unhappy that she could not achieve the scores she had expected but that itself would not be a ground for the Court to interfere. It has rightly been observed by the learned Single Judge that there is no glaring error apparent on the face of the record and the appellant has failed to make out a case for the relief sought.”

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