No HC help to students who failed test due to wrong questions

No HC help to students who failed test due to wrong questions

 The Bombay High Court has refused to grant relief to four students, who failed to qualify written test held by Maharashtra Public Service Commission for posts of Deputy Collector as the minimum marks required for passing were cut down due to incorrect questions asked in the papers.

"The petitioners have not been able to establish that the corrective action of deletion of the questions adopted by the respondent (Commission) is either arbitrary or contrary to law," observed Justices R P SondurBaldota and V M Kanade.

The judges ruled that the course of corrective action proposed by the petitioners of allotment of marks to all the incorrect questions to every candidate could not have been a solution to the problem.

Since the evaluation of the papers involved negative marking, allotment of marks to incorrect questions would not have benefited everybody equally, they opined in a recent order.

With deletion of the questions and the marks thereof, not only the marks allotted to the questions but also the negative marking wherever given got deleted, thereby bringing all the candidates to the same level or position, the bench further held.

"The assessment of the candidates then was only on the basis of the remaining questions that had been attempted by them. Since, there is neither any arbitrariness nor illegality in the course of action adopted by the respondent, there cannot be any judicial interference with the same. In the circumstances, we do not find merits in the petitions and they are hereby dismissed," the bench said recently.

In two petitions, the four students had challenged the decision of MPSC of reducing the marks for incorrect questions in the four papers. One petition was filed by Abhijit Nikam, Manoj Pawar, Dattatray Gaikwad and other one was filed by Mahesh Singhal. =

In 2012, MPSC had advertised for posts of deputy collector and all the petitioners had applied for the same. On June 10, 2012, they successfully cleared preliminary test and appeared for the main test from September 1 to 3, 2012.

The main examination consisted of six papers. The first two papers were of languages, while the remaining four were of general studies. Each paper for general studies carried 150 marks. On declaration of results on February 20, 2013, the petitioners found that their names were not included in the list of successful candidates, qualified for the interview.

Post examination, MPSC discovered that all the four papers for general studies contained incorrect questions. The number of incorrect questions in the four papers were 2, 4, 11 and 5 respectively. Therefore, by way of corrective action, MPSC cancelled the incorrect questions and correspondingly reduced the total number of marks for each of the four papers.

The marks for paper 1 on exclusion of two questions were reduced to 148. The marks for paper 2 were reduced to 146, for paper 3 to 139 and for paper 4 to 149. This reduction in the total marks for the four papers naturally impacted the number of minimum qualifying marks for clearing the papers.

As per the advertisement, the candidates of open category needed to secure a minimum of 48 per cent marks in each paper while those of the reservation category needed to secure a minimum of 40 per cent marks in each paper.

With the reduction in the total number of marks for the four papers, the marks required for fulfilling the test of 45 per cent and 40 per cent got reduced. Thus, all the petitioners failed to secure the minimum qualifying marks for the open category for general studies subject.

Consequently, they were declared not eligible for the interview. Being aggrieved, they filed petitions in High Court which refused to grant them relief.

Counsel for petitioners, Uday Warunjikar argued that instead of reducing the marks for incorrect questions, for the purpose of qualifying standards for the two categories, the respondent ought to have allotted, to all the candidates, the marks for the incorrect questions in all the four papers, which would have benefited everybody.

He said the adoption of method of deletion of the questions and marks allotted thereof had worked to the disadvantage of the petitioners as the system of evaluation provided for negative marks for wrong answers.

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