Fixing qualifying marks in an examination is purely a policy decision of government and courts cannot intervene to lower it for reserved category, the Supreme Court has held.
In an important ruling, a bench of K S Radhakrishnan and A K Sikri said that one cannot invoke writ jurisdiction claiming violation of fundamental rights to get relaxation or concession in such criterion set by the government.
“The question as to whether the cut off marks stipulated for the reserved category candidates have to be reduced or not, is entirely a matter for the state government to decide. The court exercising writ jurisdiction cannot grant such relaxation/concessional marks, as the same is the decision to be taken by the state government,” the bench said.
“Taking into consideration a variety of factors, state/authorities concerned in their wisdom would fix the cut off marks and court cannot substitute its views to that of the experts,” the bench added.
The apex court declined to allow a plea made by Prof A Marx of Tamil Nadu, who wanted direction to quash the Tamil Nadu Teacher Eligibility Test (TNTET) -2013 and fixing of varying qualifying marks as per the prevailing reservation rule.
He contended that fixing 60 per cent as uniform qualifying marks was illegal and violative of Article 16(4) (reservation for backward class of citizens in appointments or posts) of the Constitution.
“We find it difficult to accede to the request of the petitioner,” the bench said, while upholding the Madras HC’s decision.
The HC had dismissed the petition on similar logic saying the question if someone was to be provided concession in qualifying marks in an examination was a policy matter and court sitting under Article 226 (writ jurisdiction) cannot give a positive direction to the state so as to reduce the minimum marks to any reserved category.