The Madras High Court bench here on Tuesday set aside the competitive examination conducted by the Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) on July 21, 2013 for selection of post graduate assistants in Tamil and directed the TRB to conduct a fresh examination within six weeks.

Justice S. Nagamuthu passed the order based on a batch of petitions filed by the candidates who wrote the competitive exam.

According to the petitioners, 47 questions out of 150 questions in the ‘B’ series question paper distributed to around 8000 candidates had errors. Therefore, they had pleaded for grace marks. A total of 32,000 candidates had written the exam all over Tamil Nadu.

In his order, Justice Mr. Nagamuthu observed that, “It is very painful to note that, in an examination, which would decide the fate of thousands of candidates who have been competing for getting government jobs, the TRB has not ensured that the question paper is free from mistakes, so that the candidates could have a common platform with equal and fair opportunities to compete and prove their merit.”

The TRB chairman Vibhu Nayar, had submitted a counter admitting that there were errors in 40 questions and that the TRB had decided to delete the 40 questions from valuation and evaluate only 110 questions for all the candidates and award marks on pro rata basis.

The judge, however, noted that the TRB’s decision cannot be implemented because it will ‘materially and drastically affect the results.’

Justice Mr. Nagamuthu pointed out that if marks were distributed on pro rata basis for the 110 questions, the candidates who answered under the A, C and D series of the question paper would be affected and there is a possibility that the non-meritorious candidates, who answered under the B series of question paper, would defeat the meritorious candidates. “Adopting any other method (other than a fresh examination) would only result in injustice for the meritorious candidates. It is needless to point out that there should be no discrepancies in competitive exams,” Justice Mr. Nagamuthu noted.

He further pointed out that the prospectus of the TRB did not have a rule or a clause for allotment of pro rata marks after deleting the wrong questions.

The additional advocate general had contended that the Supreme Court permitted fresh examination only if there were compelling reasons such as malpractice, fraud and corrupt motives. Justice Mr. Nagamuthu held that there were compelling reasons in this case since one third of the question paper was full of errors.

In his order, he directed the TRB not to issue fresh tickets for the examination ordered by the court. The candidates should be instructed to download the hall tickets issued for the July 21 competitive exam from the TRB’s website and no fresh applications should be received for the exam, the judge ruled in his order.