J. Venkatesan

Court cannot take upon itself the task of statutory authorities: Bench

No provision under rules for revaluation in the instant case

New Delhi: In the absence of any provision under the Statute or Statutory Rules/Regulations, the High Court should not generally direct revaluation of answer sheets, the Supreme Court has held.

A vacation Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said: “It is settled legal proposition that the court cannot take upon itself the task of the Statutory Authorities. Further even the policy decision incorporated in the Rules/Regulations not providing for rechecking/verification/re-valuation cannot be challenged unless there are grounds to show that the policy itself is in violation of some statutory provision.”

The Bench quoting an earlier judgment said: “It is exclusively within the province of the Legislature and its delegate to determine as a matter of policy how the provisions of the statute can best be implemented and what measures, substantive as well as procedural would have to be incorporated in the Rules or Regulations for the efficacious achievement of the objects and purposes of the [relevant] Act. The court cannot sit in judgment over the wisdom of the policy evolved by the Legislature and the subordinate regulation-making body.”

Writing the judgment, Justice Chauhan pointed out that if there was a discrepancy in framing the question or evaluation of the answer, it could be for all the candidates appearing in the examination and not for the candidate concerned who approached the court.

In the instant case, the Himachal Pradesh High Court had ordered production of the answer sheet and directed its re-evaluation and on that basis directed the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission to appoint the respondent, Mukesh Thakur, to the post of a Civil Judge (Junior Division). The present appeal by HPPSC is directed against this order.

Allowing the appeal, the Bench said, “It is a matter of chance that the High Court was examining the answer sheets relating to law. Had it been other subjects like physics, chemistry and mathematics, we are unable to understand as to whether such a course could have been adopted by the High Court.”

The Bench pointed out that there was no provision in the Rules for re-evaluation and since the respondent failed to secure the qualifying marks, he was not called for the interview. Therefore, the only order which the High Court could have passed was to direct the government to consider the respondent's case for relaxation of the marks, if such a course was permitted under the Rules, the Bench held and set aside the High court judgment.