In a significant order, the Delhi High Court today asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to re-evaluate the answer sheets of all the subjects of all students who wrote the class XII examination this year and seek re-evaluation. The CBSE has been directed to give benefit of the scheme of scrutiny to students who have a grievance that their answer books have not been checked as per the marking scheme. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said “the relief is not confined only to the petitioners before it and shall be admissible to all the similarly situated students who seek re-evaluation of their answer sheets”. “The CBSE shall conduct the re-evaluation of the answer sheets of the petitioners as have been applied for by them without the prohibition contained in condition numbers (i), (iii) and (vii) of the notice dated June 28, 2017.
“The CBSE shall accept all applications for re-evaluation in all the subjects which the petitioners may apply for and conduct the re-evaluation forthwith,” the bench said in an interim order. The court’s direction came on a plea filed by four students against the CBSE’s June 28 notice imposing conditions that the right of applying for scrutiny was limited to 12 subjects only and up to 10 questions per subject. The notice had also said that a revised marksheet would be issued only if the marks increased by five or were reduced by one.
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These are the three conditions which the court said would not apply when a student seeks re-evaluation of his or her answer sheets. The 12 subjects are — English Core, English Elective (CBSE), English Elective (NCERT), Hindi Core, Hindi Elective, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Business Studies, Economics and Accountancy. The petitioner students, who had moved the court, were seeking re-evaluation in subjects which were not mentioned in the notice issued by CBSE on June 28.
The CBSE had issued the notice in pursuance to a statement before the high court during the hearing of a batch of pleas that the aggrieved students could now approach the board under its verification scheme. On the submission made by the CBSE, the bench on June 23 had disposed of the petitions. However, a group of four students again moved the high court on the ground that the stipulations in the notice were in blatant violation of the statement made before the court. Their counsel told the bench that the CBSE had in fact misled the court into disposing of the writ petitions in terms of the said statement.
Taking note of this, the bench observed that prima facie, the petitioners have made out a case for grant of interim orders. “It cannot be denied that grave and irreparable loss and damage would enure to the petitioners so far as their admissions to colleges and universities are concerned. Balance of convenience is also in favour of the petitioners,” it said. The bench noted in its 10-page order that the relief has to be dispensed to all students who have undertaken the Class XII examination and seek re-evaluation. The court also issued notices to the Centre, CBSE and the Delhi University on the plea and sought their replies within ten days. The matter has now been fixed for further hearing on July 26.