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HC upholds HCS exam result, rejects pleas against veracity of questions

August 14, 2019 07:11 AM


HC upholds HCS exam result, rejects pleas against veracity of questions
Says It Can’t Play Role Of Expert In Judging Competitive Exam Questions


The Punjab and Haryana high court has made it clear that the court cannot assume the role and character of an expert committee to reassess their decision regarding the veracity of questions asked in a competitive examination until and unless decision is irrational and fallacious.

Justice Amit Rawal of the HC passed these orders while dismissing a bunch of petitions filed by Shweta Dhull and others. The petitioners had sought directions to set aside the result of preliminary examination of Haryana Civil Service (executive and allied services) declared by Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) on May 21for being totally vitiated owing to numerous, pervasive mistakes and wrong setting of question papers.

Their main argument was that the HPSC failed to ensure fair and transparent process of recruitment in conducting the examination owing to the discrepancies in the question papers. It was also argued that few questions were not in bilingual, the purpose of which was to give opportunity to candidates from Hindi medium schooling background to participate in screening process.

It was further stated that many questions had the option of two answers. Referring to Question No. 57 of series ‘A’, Paper-1 despite knowing both C and D to be correct answers, the petitioner did not attempt the question fearing negative marking. There were certain questions in which the correct answer options were not provided. The petitioners specifically gave examples of such questions in their petition.

Contesting the petition, the HPSC submitted that the scope of judicial review on opinion of answer key was very limited. Once the commission had already constituted the expert committee and dealt with objections, the result cannot be challenged. It was next contended that there was no provision of re-evaluation of marks under the statute or the rules. If at all there was any discrepancy in framing of the question paper, it would apply to all candidates sitting in the examination and not the petitioners as out of 65,000 applicants, 2,211candidates were found successful. This court cannot assume the role of expert and should not overstep their jurisdiction to upset the opinion of experts.

“The expert committee consisted of professors from reputed universities/colleges of concerned subject, thus, were neutral. The commission has spent almost Rs 1.25 crore for conducting the examination... In case the prayer of the petitioners is accepted for cancellation of the result, the candidates, who have been selected, stand to suffer without being heard on merit,” the HPSC had submitted. It was also argued by the commission that all candidates, who attempted either of the questions, i.e., before publication of answer key and afterwards, were given full marks by the board. “In such circumstances, the objection of the candidates that they were apprehensive of not attempting the questions owing to the negative marking is wholly preposterous,”said the commission.

Rejecting the objection regarding some questions not being in bilingual, the HC observed that if a candidate was not capable of comprehending the questions in English, it would amount to downgrading the level of assessment for such a high post.

“As a part of judicial review, the jurisdiction of this court is to examine the decision making process...The examining body is the most suitable to decide whether such questions are vague or the options are incorrect or not possible. Such decision of the examining body has to be respected,” HC said

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