Jharkhand High Court: S.N. Pathak, J., rejected the petition filed by a civil services candidate, who was declared unsuccessful in prelims examination due to darkening wrong last digit of roll number in OMR sheet. The Bench stated,

“May be the petitioner has not intentionally darkened digit 6 instead of 8, but sympathy has no place in the eyes of law. The law will prevail in view of the terms and conditions as mentioned in the Advertisement, Admit Card and that of the Rules framed by the JPSC.”

The petitioner had approached the Court with the grievance that though she had obtained 240 marks in the Preliminary Test in Jharkhand Combined Civil Services Competitive Examination, 2021, whereas the cut off marks obtained by the last selected candidate in Scheduled Tribes category was 230, she was not allowed to appear in the Mains Examination to be conducted by the respondent-Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC). The petitioner contented that if no interference is made by the Court her career would be spoiled.

On the contrary, the JPSC submitted that the petitioner had tried to make out a case which had no legs to stand as OMR Answer Sheet of General Studies Paper-II of the petitioner was rejected by the OMR Scanning Machine due to wrong darkening/shadowing of Roll Number filled up by the petitioner herself and it was fault on part of the petitioner in not adhering to the guidelines/ instructions in the Advertisement and Admit Card.

After perusal of the Admit Card of the petitioner and OMR sheet of the examination, the Bench observed that in the place of last digit of roll number i.e. 8, the petitioner had wrongly circled in the OMR sheet the digit 6. Further, Clause 4 of the advertisement clearly stipulates:

 “4. OMR (Optical mark recognition) answer sheet will be processed electronically. As such invalidation of answer sheet due to incomplete / incorrect filling / darkening of the bubbles on OMR sheet, will be the sole responsibility of the candidate. OMR Scanning machine will reject OMR sheet in which Roll No and Booklet series are not properly and correctly (in word or number or both as required) darkened or fillup in OMR sheet.”

Admittedly the petitioner had wrongly darkened the last digit of her roll number, which was fault on her part and as per instruction in the Admit Card, such mistakes on part of the candidate, cannot be rectified by the Commission and according to the arguments advanced by the JPSC, such correction would lead to manipulation in the OMR Sheet.

Thus, it is evident that the conditions/instructions mentioned in clause-4 of the Admit Card had not been fulfilled by the petitioner herself and as such, case of the petitioner had rightly been rejected by the Commission for appearing in Mains Examination.

Further, as per the record the petitioner had obtained 140 marks only in totality whereas the marks obtained by the last selected candidate under the Scheduled Tribes category was 230. Thus, plea raised by the petitioner was rejected on this score also. The Bench stated,

“Petitioner cannot take the plea to add marks of second paper of General Studies which could not be evaluated or scanned by the OMR machine due to mistake or laches on part of the petitioner herself by darkening wrong roll number.”

Hence, opining that direction to correct the error would amount to manipulation in the OMR Sheet, the Bench stated that a candidate is supposed to follow the instructions and such mistakes are not expected by the aspirants appearing in the State Civil Service Examination. Accordingly, the instant petition was dismissed. [Aditya Isha Prachi Tirkey v. Jharkhand Public Service Commission, 2022 SCC OnLine Jhar 28, decided on 18-01-2022]

Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Appearance by:

For the Petitioner: Rajeeva Sharma, Sr. Advocate along with Aishwarya Prakash, Advocate

For the Respondents: Sanjay Piprawall, Advocate

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