Mohamed Imranullah S.

MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday directed the Tiruchi District Educational Officer (DEO) to allay all kinds of fears and apprehensions of 262 Plus Two students who have been asked by the State Government to appear for re-examination on April 22 because the answer scripts of their public examination in physics, held on March 8, went missing allegedly during transit from Musiri to Coimbatore through the postal department.

Passing interim orders in a public interest litigation petition, a Division Bench of Justices F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla and K.B.K. Vasuki said: “In as much as this court is seized of the matter, the students can be rest assured that the marks they are going to secure would be dealt with along with the marks secured by them in other subjects and all of them will be treated on a par with the rest of the students who wrote the examination in the earlier public examination.”

However, in order to reassure and instil confidence in the minds of the students, the judges requested the DEO as well as the headmasters of the three Government schools in which the students studied to make a categorical statement in this regard before the commencement of the re-examination on April 22.

“We hope and trust that such a statement by the respondents would erase out any doubt in the minds of the 262 students,” the Divisiion Bench said.

T. Murugesan, Tiruchi district secretary of Democratic Youth Federation of India, had filed the PIL petition claiming that the parents of the affected students feared that they might be victimised if they engaged in a legal battle against the educational authorities.

He sought for a direction to the State Government to pay monetary compensation to all the 262 students as they had to undergo the ordeal of writing the examination once again due to the negligence of the officials concerned.

His counsel U. Nirmala Rani insisted that the Director of School Education should be ordered to formulate a scheme for ensuring safe transport of answer scripts of public examination to avert such incidents in future.

The Postal Department had lodged a complaint with the Tiruchi Cantonment police station on March 15 regarding the missing answer sheets, she said and sought a direction to conduct a full-fledged enquiry into the incident and punish the negligent officials.