Rejecting Challenge To Evaluation In Teachers Recruitment Exam, Court Held “May Seem Plausible On Grounds Of Natural Justice, May Not Be Possible Legally”: Orissa HC

The Orissa High Court recently denied a candidate’s request to dispute the assessment procedure of the test held for the hiring of contractual Hindi teachers in government secondary schools in the case of Rabindra Panigrahi v. State of Odisha & Ors., W.P.(C) No. 33961 of 2021. The Single Bench of Justice Sanjeeb Kumar Panigrahi noted while rejecting the writ petition.

Brief Facts Of The Case:  In response to an advertisement published on August 13, 2021, the petitioner submitted an application for a contract position as a Hindi teacher at a government secondary school and showed up for the appropriate Computer-Based Test (CBT) on October 4, 2021. Despite having high expectations after performing well in the CBT, he was utterly disappointed to learn that he had only received 21.75 out of 90 possible points, falling just 0.75 points shy of the required qualifying score of 22.5. He contested the aforementioned outcome and claimed that a question that was not on the curriculum was left on the exam. Additionally, he requested a reevaluation of his paper through a writ suit.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that since Question No. 63 was not in the syllabus, this was a good reason to grant the petitioner grace marks. Once more, he argued that the petitioner’s age—32—would exclude him from appearing in future exams of the same sort due to age restrictions. MeritTrac Services Pvt. Ltd. specifically outlined how Q. 63 is a component of “Child Development-Process of Growing Up” and “Learning Process-understanding Learning Process/Learning as a Process and result” in the counter-affidavit submitted by the opposing party in a letter dated 17.02.2022. In addition, it argued, the scheme and syllabus for the Computer Based Recruitment Examination (CBRE) published by the Directorate of Secondary Education, Odisha also includes “Information Processing Approach- Sternberg” in Section-IV of the syllabus under the heading “Approaches to Understanding the Nature of Intelligence.”

Judgement: The Court noted that if the petitioner had a complaint about the questions not being on the syllabus, they should have been brought up within the allotted time period, which was 06.10.2021-08.10.2021 (3 days). The petitioner claimed in his response affidavit that he was unable to make his argument because he was attending to the medical needs of his family members on the dates set aside for resolving the question-paper discrepancy.

The petitioner’s request to have the answer script reevaluated was denied, according to the ruling, because the applicants who passed the relevant exam have been employed since 12.15.2021. The Court stated that this removes any prospect of human participation in the examination and evaluation because the current set of circumstances indicate that the examination was a computer-based test. Therefore, it is essential that the proper procedure involved in the examination of response scripts be followed without interference from courts owing to the absence of evidence suggesting potential misconduct. The Court decided to dismiss the writ petition by denying the requests it contained after taking into account the aforementioned reasons and precedents.

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Judgement Reviewed By Prakirti Jena

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