Board of Secondary Education v. Pravas Ranjan Panda & Ors.

After reading the judgement, you will learn how the Supreme Court looked into a precedent to arrive at judgement in the present case and accordingly set aside the High Court's order in view of the mess the same would create.
CITATIONC.A. No. 5413 of 2004, 5414 of 2004
COURTSupreme Court of India
JUDGES/CORAMChief Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justice C.K. Thakker
DATE OF JUDGEMENT13.08.2004

Introduction

The present case is an appeal filed by the Appellant, Board of Secondary Education, against the judgment passed by the Hon’ble High Court of Orissa. It deals with the question that whether, in cases where there are no clear rules stated in regards to Re-evaluation of answer scripts in Examinations, should such direction for re-evaluation be directed in the interests of Justice

Facts

The facts of the case are as follows: Respondent 1, Pravas Ranjan Panda, was a school student, from a recognized High School who had appeared in High School Certificate Examination, 2003 conducted by the Board of Secondary Examination, Orissa. The Respondent secured 90% marks in the said examination and passed it.

Afterwards, the Respondent filed a writ petition in the High Court of Karnataka alleging that he had attempted all questions without any mistakes and therefore he deserved full marks in all of those papers. He alleged that it was only due to the negligence of the Board in appointing inexperienced and unqualified examiners in certain papers due to which he had scored less marks in these papers. Thus due to this negligence on part of the Board, he had lost the chance of being within the first ten examinees in the HSC Examination, 2003. A prayer was accordingly made for re-evaluation of his answer-books. The High Court had then directed the Board to re-evaluate all the answer scripts of candidates who had secured 90% and above marks in aggregate in the HSC Examination, 2003.

The Board had then preferred a review petition arguing that the Board shall face huge problems in re-evaluating all answer-sheets after publication of results and communication of marks to the examinees, on the basis of which most of the students had already taken admission to prosecute their higher studies. It was further contented by the Board that a total of 217 examinees had secured 90% and above marks in the HSC Examination, 2003 and that there would be a requirement of 27 examiners of the status of Chief Examiner for the purpose of re-examination of the answer-books and that some additional examiners would be necessary to examine the subject of third language. However, the review petition was dismissed.

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Issues

The main issue in the case was: Whether Re-Evaluation of answer books could be directed in absence of clear rules in that regard.

Summary of court decision and judgment

The Counsel for the Appellants was present for the hearing; however it is worthwhile to mention that despite being given notice by the Court again and again the Respondents did not turn up at all. The Supreme Court heard the Counsel of the Appellants who argued on the ground that it would be very difficult for the Board to recheck all the answer scripts of students who had scored 90% and more in the HSC Examinations. The Counsel also argued that the directions of the High Court were not sustainable in law.

The Supreme Court then came to observe that the regulations of the Board of Secondary Education, Orissa do not make any provision for re-evaluation of answer-books of the students. Thus, the question whether in absence of any provision to that effect an examinee is entitled to ask for re-evaluation of his answer-books was dealt by the Hon’ble Court in light of the judgment of Pramod Kumar Srivastava v. Chairman, Bihar Public Service Commission[1].

Analysis

It was held in the Pramod Kumar case that in absence of rules providing for re-evaluation of answer-books, no such direction can be issued. It was further held that if no such rule was present regarding the same, passing a direction for rechecking of the answer scripts would be very inconvenient. The Court had thus held that keeping in mind the larger public interest, such directions should be avoided and not passed.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court was therefore of the view that the order of the Orissa High Court directing the board to recheck all the answer sheets of students scoring 90% or more was unjust and thus set aside the order of the High Court, much to the relief of the Board.

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In my belief and after having studied and gone through the Judgment of the Hon’ble Court as well as the arguments and contentions of the Appellants, I am of the belief that the Court’s decision was appropriate and correct. It also confirms to the existing laws and the Court in its judgment gave good reasoning for the judgment. The order of the High Court was rightfully set aside as it had not conformed to the decision given by the Apex Court in the case of Pramod Kumar Srivastava v. Chairman, Bihar Public Service Commission wherein the Court had clearly held that such directions should not be issued in greater public interest.

Conclusion

To conclude I feel that the Supreme Court gave a very reasonable judgment. In took into accordance the difficulties and the practical issues that would have crept before the Board in while enforcing the directions issued by the High Court, thus quashing the High Court’s order and allowing the appeal of the Appellants.


[1](2004) 6 SCC 714.