Board of Secondary Education Vs. Pravas Ranjan Panda & Ors: Absence of Re-evaluation directives.


TITLE  Board of Secondary Education Vs. Pravas Ranjan Panda & Ors. 
CITATION C.A. No. 5413 of 2004, 5414 of 2004
COURT Supreme Court of India
JUDGES/CORAM Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justice C.K. Thakker
TITLE Board of Secondary Education Vs. Pravas Ranjan Panda & Ors. 
CITATIONC.A. No. 5413 of 2004, 5414 of 2004
COURTSupreme Court of India
JUDGES/CORAMChief Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justice C.K. Thakker


In the present case the Appellant, Board of Secondary Education, filed an appeal 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, direction for re-evaluation should comply with the interests of justice.


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

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. 

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


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


The Counsel for the Appellants was present for the hearing. 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 observed 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 .


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. 

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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. It set aside the order much to the relief of the Board.

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, the Court’s decision was appropriate and correct. It also conforms 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. 


To conclude I feel that the Supreme Court gave a very reasonable judgment. It took into consideration the difficulties and the practical issues that would have crept before the Board in enforcing the directions issued by the High Court. Thus, quashing the High Court’s order it allowing the appeal.


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