Courts cannot examine answer keys: SC

Courts cannot examine answer keys: SC

A view of the Supreme Court of India. (pic for representation only)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said courts cannot take upon itself the task of verifying answers in an examination under the exercise of judicial review. Unless there is no doubt about the answers, the judiciary cannot intervene, otherwise, it would open a floodgate, the top court said.

“How far the judicial review can go? The sanctity of process would be lost if the courts go into the correctness of answers in an examination. Where should we draw the line? It is difficult for the judiciary to entertain these issues under the writ jurisdictions,” a vacation bench of Justices U U Lalit and Deepak Gupta said.

The top court said it can examine the matter to the extent that the examination process was fair.

The court made these observations while reserving its judgement for Thursday on a batch of petitions by candidates challenging the correctness of answer keys to preliminary examinations conducted by the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) in 2017 for various posts in provincial civil services.

A group of candidates led by Rahul Singh questioned the move by the UPPSC to declare the schedule for conducting Main examination from June 18. The petitioner-candidates sought modification of the top court's stay order on May 18 against the Allahabad High Court's direction to the UPPSC to re-draw the rank list of the successful candidates of preliminary examinations after finding that the answer keys of some questions were wrong.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, representing the UPPSC, said about 16,000 candidates were declared successful in preliminary examinations after a 26-member experts panel reviewed the answer keys. He said the main examinations has already been delayed. The judicial review must come to end somewhere, otherwise, the whole yearly schedule would go haywire.