Calcutta HC Slams State for Unilaterally Altering Aspirant’s Original Score, Orders Appointment with Retrospective Benefits

Debangana Ray

Published on July 29, 2022 at 21:11 IST

The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday slammed State’s “mala fide” and “arbitrary” exercise of power in unilaterally altering the original score of a candidate who appeared in the recruitment exam for the post of Assistant Teacher, back in 2012.

Observing that the Petitioner-candidate suffered “grave injustice” by not receiving a call for personality test in the selection process, a single bench of  Justice Aniruddha Roy ordered that appointment shall be given to the petitioner w.e.f. the same day when the last candidate had received his/her appointment as an Assistant Teacher at the concerned district for the subject the petitioner applied for, along with all the service benefits with retrospective effect.

However, in the event of scarcity of such post in concerned district, i.e., Malda, the Respondent authorities have been granted liberty to appoint the petitioner in the same post in some other district.

At the outset, the Court observed that in most of the answers the original marks secured by the petitioner were scrolled through and were reduced and no comment, signature or initial of the examiner concerned was available.

Thus, there was a possibility that scrolling out of the original number was done after the signatures of the evaluator or examiner and the scrutineer were put in on the top sheet filled up with the original numbers.

The Court also took note of State’s conduct in avoiding the RTI applications filed by the Petitioner seeking necessary information and production of the answer scripts.

While condemning such state action the Court noted that such actions gave rise to a reasonable apprehension and doubt, to the mind of the court, as to the bona fide exercise of discretion by the Respondent parties.

The bench reiterated that a Constitutional Court, in the exercise of its high prerogative writ jurisdiction, can and should intervene in a prudent manner whenever and wherever an illegal or arbitrary exercise of power and discretion by the State authority is discovered, without overstepping any statutory framework duly framed under the law.

The Court observed that  there is obvious absence of provision conferring power to review or re-examination or over-marking or under-marking of the answer script of a candidate, by an evaluator/examiner or a scrutineer.

Such power being substantive in nature, it needs to be expressly created in relevant acts or rules. In absence of such express provision, such substantive power cannot be inferred. Hence, the resolution for re-evaluation was set aside as being ultra-vires to the relevant statutes.

The alterations of original numbers in the answer script were also set aside and quashed and consequently stood reversed to its original numbers for being legally unsustainable.

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