SC reserves order on UPPSC exam answer sheets re-evaluation

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a plea by the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission challenging the Allahabad High Courts order directing the re-evaluation of the answer sheets of the candidates who had appeared for the state civil service preliminary exam. The High Court had ordered the re-evaluation of the answer sheets of the candidates on the basis of the correct answer to the questions. Reserving the order, the vacation bench of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Deepak Gupta made it clear that there was a limited scope of judicial intervention in the process of conducting exams where the answers are based on reasoning and experience. Wherever, the process of reasoning is to be employed for coming to a correct answer, the court should not take recourse of judicial review in such cases, said Justice Lalit making it clear that courts could step in only when the conduct of an exam appears to be obnoxious to a common man. The main exam is scheduled for June 18. The court reserved the order that will be pronounced on Thursday (June 14) as lawyers appearing for the aggrieved students contended that they were assailing the decision making process and Why students should be penalised for wrong answers in the answer keys. The lawyers for the candidates even cast doubts on the competence of the experts who prepared the final answer keys for the exams conducted in 2017. Appearing for the State Public Service Commission, Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh told the court In case of doubt, the benefit should go to examination authority and not the appearing candidates. Telling the counsel for the aggrieved students that the scope of judicial review in such situations was limited unless there was a manifest error demonstrable on the face of it, the court referred to a wrong answer to a question in CLAT-2018 relating to the number of official languages in India. The court said that there were three tiers of moderation of the answer keys in the exam conducted by UPPSC – the first commenced with a 15 member expert committee vetting the answer key provided by the examiner who had set the paper. This was followed by another 18 member expert committee before the answer key was uploaded for inviting objections. The objections – 968 in total – were looked into by another 26-member committee for two days before finalising the answer key. Pointing to the three-tier moderation of the answer key, Justice Lalit asked if the aggrieved students wanted three tier of the court process and wondered where would it all end.


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