High Court, under Article 226, not entitled to review answer keys issued by the organisers of competitive/entrance examinations

Delhi High Court: Giving a set back to candidates of entrance exams for education institutes and competitive exams for government employment, Delhi High Court ruled that High Court while exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution should not review the answer keys issued by the organisers of such exams. The Court in the present case dismissed a petition filed by a candidate of JEE-2015, the entrance test for admission in IITs, NITs and other government sponsored technology education institutes. In the petition some questions in the test and answers in the answer key were alleged to be wrong and conceptually flawed.

The High Court following principles laid down by the Supreme Court in Tata Cellular v.  Union  of  India,  (1994)  6 SCC 651, held that  there  is  no scope for judicial review of the answer key unless allegations of bias, mala fide, non-consideration of relevant factors etc. which are traditionally the grounds for invoking the power of judicial review are made out.  The Court also relied upon the ruling of the Supreme Court in H.P. Public Service Commission v.  Mukesh Thakur,  (2010) 6 SCC 759, that it is not permissible for the High Court to examine the question paper and the answer sheet itself particularly when the examining body has assessed the inter se merit of the candidates; and/or if there was a discrepancy in framing the question or  evaluation of the answer, it was for all the candidates  appearing in the examination and not for the petitioner alone. Atul Kumar Verma v. Union of India2015 SCC OnLine Del 10316, decided on 13th July, 2015

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