Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court Bench refuses to interfere in the issue of revaluation of answerscripts citing inexpertise on academic matters

S.R. Sugindar Vinoth (17) of Kovilpatti in Tuticorin district had nurtured the ambition of becoming a doctor ever since his childhood. Unfortunately, he could not get a medical seat as he fell short of the cut-off mark by 1.75 marks. He fought tooth and nail with the Directorate of Examinations for more marks and even filed a case in the Madras High Court but in vain.

The minor boy was initially declared to have scored 1,079 marks (with 194 in physics, 188 in chemistry and 188 in biology) out of 1,200 marks in the higher secondary examinations held in March 2009. Then, his cut-off mark was only 189.5 against 194.75 required for getting a free MBBS seat under the quota for Backward Classes.

He applied for revaluation of his chemistry and biology answerscripts. The Joint Director (Valuation), Directorate of Government Examinations, issued a revised mark statement increasing the marks in biology from 188 to 193. Consequently, the student’s cut-off mark increased to 192, yet not sufficient to get a quota seat.

His request for revaluation of the chemistry answerscript was met with a strange reply from the Joint Director on July 1, stating that his answersheet on computer science was scrutinised and it was found that there was no change in the marks already awarded. Aggrieved over such a reply, the boy moved the Madras High Court Bench here.

He contended that the authorities concerned had failed to apply their mind as they evaluated some other paper instead of his chemistry answerscript. Claiming that the examiners ought to have given him three more marks in biology and five more marks in chemistry, the student sought for a direction to revaluate his answerscripts.

Contesting the case, the Director of Government Examinations, in his counter-affidavit, stated that the Joint Director had mistakenly mentioned the subject as computer science instead of chemistry in an order served on the petitioner on July 1. He also said that the petitioner would be given two more marks in chemistry taking the total to 190 apart from the five marks already awarded in biology.

Stating that the petitioner’s answerscripts were revaluated on more than two occasions by different sets of examiners, the Director said: "The process of valuation should reach finality at one stage. Valuation of answerscripts cannot be done again and again in tune with the views expressed by the petitioner. Therefore, the petitioner is not entitled for any additional marks."

Justice R.S. Ramanathan agreed with the Director especially in the absence of any mala fide attributed against the authorities who were the competent persons to evaluate the answers given by the petitioner. The court could not re-appreciate or analyse the answers as it did not possess the expertise required.

"Of course, it is unfortunate that the petitioner is not able to secure admission for this year in the MBBS selection. But the scope of judicial review is always limited to find out whether the process of decision-making is fair and reasonable and this court cannot sit on appeal and analyse the decision taken by the authorities," the judge said.

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