J. Venkatesan

Paramount consideration is examiner's ability: apex court

  • Examiners should have the capability to make valuation
  • Provision for revaluation no shield for arbitrariness

    New Delhi: To put in place a zero defect valuation system in the school board and other higher-level examinations, it has to be ensured that the examiners are really equipped for the job, the Supreme Court has said.

    "The paramount consideration in such cases is the ability of the examiner. The Board [concerned] has the bounden duty to select such persons as examiners who have the capacity, capability to make valuation and they should really be equipped for the job. Otherwise, the very purpose of evaluation of answer papers would be frustrated. Nothing should be left to show even an apprehension about lack of fair assessment."

    A Bench consisting of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta said: "It is true that valuation by two persons cannot be equal on golden scales, but wide variation would affect the credibility of the system of valuation. If for the same answer one candidate gets higher marks than the other, that would be arbitrary."

    Writing the judgment, Justice Pasayat said: "Care should be taken to see that the examiners who have been appointed for a particular subject belong to the same faculty. It would be a mockery of the system of valuation if a teacher belonging to the Arts stream is asked to value answer papers of Science stream. Board authorities should ensure that anomalous situations of this nature do not occur."

    The Bench said, "Additional steps should be taken for assessing the capacity of a teacher before he/she is appointed examiner. For this purpose, the Board may constitute a body of experts to interview the persons who intend to be appointed examiners."

    The Bench said that one thing which could not be lost sight of was the marginal difference in marks, which decided the placement of candidates in the merit list.

    The judges said: "Award of marks by an examiner is to be fair, and considering the fact that revaluation is not permissible under the Statute, the examiner has to be careful, cautious and has a duty to ensure that the answers are properly evaluated. No element of chance or luck should be introduced. An examination is a stepping stone on career advancement of a student. Absence of a provision for revaluation cannot be a shield for the examiner to arbitrarily evaluate the answer script. That would be against the very concept for which revaluation is impermissible."

    Amount reduced

    The Bench was disposing of an appeal preferred by the Orissa Secondary Education Board against a judgment of the Orissa High Court asking the Board to pay Rs. 20,000 to a student for improper valuation of an answer script.

    The Bench, while laying down the guidelines for proper valuation, reduced this amount to Rs. 15,000.