Provision for revaluation will ensure fair play

Aaron Keishing *

"Racial discrimination is a disease and people with reasonable prudent mind would not multiply it."

Under Manipur University Rules, there is no provision for revaluation or re-checking answer sheets. There is only provision for re-scrutiny of answer scripts. Re-evaluation means value again or re-checking the answer scripts again and re-awarding of the marks or grade by an evaluator other than the first evaluator while re-scrutiny means only re-totaling of marks and re-awarding of marks is not permitted.

The marks already obtained or given by first evaluator cannot be changed after re-scrutiny unless there is error in totaling or uncheck answers. But there will be no errors when the first evaluator deliberately awarded low marks. It means the status of the marks obtained originally cannot be changed in any circumstances. Therefore, even if an evaluator is communal and awarded marks with partiality, bias or favoritism, victim students have no means to rectify it. If such is the rules, even a good student may lose faith in our educational system. The future of such a victim student will be in shambles and it will be an eternal blot on the system itself.

I was told that law students in Manipur have been constantly facing problems in Clinical Course I and Drafting, and this caused many students to fail in 5th semester which means losing one academic year. And I am already experiencing a sleepless year for the same reason.

In view of the continuous bad results of Law College students in these particular two subjects while they give average good performances in all other subjects, it is not improper to feel something has gone wrong somewhere in respect of these two subjects accidentally or deliberately. It is most likely intended as marks awarded in these two subjects were a constant low and re-scrutiny hardly changed or never changed the status of results.

The unjustly made failed students would be left with no other effective way of redressal of their grievances if the provision for revaluation is not introduced in the University. An unjust failure is lifetime harassment by the concerned teacher/evaluator, I felt. It is not only a humiliation to the failed students but a crippling blow to their entire families and also to the societies that care and work for a fair play.

When the pain and sufferings of such students become something their intelligence and perseverance could not overcome, the only option is either to commit crime against the perpetrator or choose to end his own life as in the case of a MBA student, Dana Sangma from Meghalaya state who hanged herself at a private college in Gurgaon (April 24, 2012). It was described with the discrimination and humiliation the victim deceased endured. In such cases, the bias evaluator or university should face the court of responsibility for abetment.

The constant low marks in Clinical Course-I and Drafting have become a big obstacle for the victim law students to take further studies. This particular evaluator has been spoiling and affecting the academic careers and lives of many law students of the State. Students wanted to complain about this, but their fear about complaint is that it will change nothing.

The students give their exams with confident about their performance and progress in both internal assessment and semester examinations. However, the teachers awarded marks according to their own ways, mainly in internal assessment exams is painful. Re-scrutiny too is meaningless because first evaluator will always manipulate the process of re-scrutiny as he knows that by changing the awarded marks will undermine his authority.

Therefore, introduction of provision for re-evaluation will bring transparency in the system. Then only the students will know how they are being evaluated. Candidate should be allowed to apply for re-evaluation atleast for one or two subjects per semester or the provision for rechecking answer sheets in the exceptional cases / special circumstances should be introduced. In today's competitive world where every mark counts, teachers and university should not hesitate but encourage the students to go for the revaluation. I am aware that the rules of the University do not provide for revaluation.

However, there should be exceptions to the position of law under special circumstances like this Law Colleges where almost all students secured low marks in two particular subjects and some fail every year. The students scored high marks in almost all subjects in all the semesters, except the two subjects in question. As such, if the Controller of Examinations is a person with reasonable sensible mind would definitely feel the urgent needs to correct this defect by introducing the provision and procedure of revaluating answer sheets atleast for one or two subjects per semester.

Under similar circumstances, the Madras Court had exercised its discretion for such revaluation, though it was called as re-scrutiny in the judgments of Gorthatti Naushad Suhel vs The University Of Madras and some other cases. In Gorthatti Naushad Suhel vs The University Of Madras case, it was reiterated that though in the absence of a provision for revaluation, the power of the Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is not restricted in issuing direction for revaluation of the answer scripts depending upon the facts of the particular case.

What constitutes fair play depends upon the facts and circumstances relating to each particular given situation. In some cases, it is established that there is violation of statutory duty and when it is so found, the Court has no alternative other than to interfere under Article 226 of the Constitution.

In Rohtas Industries v. Its Union , the Supreme Court held that the expansive and extraordinary power of the High Courts under Article 226 is as wide as the amplitude of the language used indicates and so can affect any person even a private individual - and be available for any (other) purpose - even one for which another may exist. Again, in Shri Anadi Mukta Sadguru S.M.V.S.J.M.S. Trust v. V.R. Rudani. it has been held as follows: Under Article 226, writs can be issued to "any person or authority". It can be issued "for the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights and for any other purpose."

Article 226 confers power on the High Courts to issue writs for enforcement of the fundamental rights as well as non-fundamental rights. The words "any person or authority" used in Article 226 are, therefore, not to be confined only to statutory authorities and instrumentalities of the State. They may cover any other person or body performing public duty. The form of the body concerned is not very much relevant.

What is relevant is the nature of the duty imposed on the body. The duty must be judged in the light of positive obligation owed by the person or authority to the affected party. No matter by what means the duty is imposed. If a positive obligation exists mandamus cannot be denied.

In Union of India and Ors. v. R. Reddappa and Anr., relied on by the learned Senior Counsel, Mr. G. Subramaniam, the Supreme Court has observed that once the Court is satisfied of injustice or arbitrariness, then the restriction, self-imposed or statutory, stands removed and no rule or technicality on exercise of power, can stand in way of rendering justice.

In B.C. Chaturvedi v. Union of India, the Supreme Court approving the decision of the Orissa High Court in Krishna Chandra Pallai v. Union of India held as follows: High court being a Court of plenary jurisdiction has inherent power to do complete justice between parties similar to Supreme Court's power under Article 142. In Air India Statutory Corporation v. United labour Union , the Supreme Court has reiterated the Court's power under Article 226.

No limitation except self imposed - the arm of Court long enough to reach injustice wherever it is found. The Court as sentinel on the qui vive is to mete out justice in given facts. There are some cases where if the power under Article 226 is not exercised, the future of a bright student will be in disaster and it will be an eternal blemish on the system.

The future of a sincere student should not suffer, the court said. It was also observed that situations like this should not recur and the University should ensure that the examiners appointed by it discharged their duties properly with dedication and a consciousness that they are dealing with the future of students.

I don't want to believe any teacher as racist but in case if awarding marks is not about students' studies or how they wrote their exams; but it's more about where they come from, then such a teacher may become a virus for spreading and infusing communal feelings among the students in particular and the people in general which is most harmful than anything else on earth. "Racial discrimination is a disease and people with reasonable prudent mind would not multiply it."

* Aaron Keishing wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on May 27, 2014.

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