Calcutta High Court: Moushumi Bhattacharya, J. decided on a petition which was filed being aggrieved by a notice cancelling a provisional eligibility list and the revised scores and ranks which were made available on the website of the Board.

Writ petitioners have served as nurses in government hospitals and seek to be placed in the Trainee Reserve category in colleges offering Post-graduate and graduate degree courses. A “Trainee Reserve” seat is a coveted post since the Trainee Reserve gets full pay from the Government and is not required to take leave from service for the duration of the course.

Petitioners applied for Post Basic B.Sc. (Nursing) courses as Trainee Reserve candidates. They were aggrieved by a notice cancelling a provisional eligibility list dated 23-11-2021 and the revised scores and ranks which were made available on the website of the Board on 03-12-2021. They challenged the unilateral cancellation of the list published on 09-11-21 and the consequential change of marks and rank in the revised Rank Card without notice to the petitioners.

The affidavit of the Board indicated that the Answer Keys sent by the West Bengal University of Health Sciences were not separated in two separate parts and that the Board decided to issue the notice dated 23-11-2021 cancelling the provisional list pursuant to considering the requests of candidates who had personally approached the Board on 18-11-2021. The affidavit sought to absolve the Board of any error or latches and put the blame on the West Bengal University of Health Sciences. It also mentioned that the writ petition suffers from misjoinder and non-joinder of necessary parties since the West Bengal University of Health Sciences has not been made a party to the Writ Petition. Further, writ petitioners cannot challenge the first round of counselling after having participated in the same.

The affidavit of the State contains a statement that a technical error took place at the time of evaluation of the OMR sheets. They were compelled to cancel the provisional list on 23-11-2021 since the Board cancelled the merit list.

The Court considered the view that the petitioners were entitled to relief. It should be reiterated that the petitioners’ ranked and scores were sufficient to secure seats in the Trainee Reserve Category in the Government colleges even without the petitioners undergoing the counselling process. The respondents, particularly the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations Board were directed to consider the ranks and scores of the petitioners as published on 09-11-2021 before the said list was cancelled by the notice dated 23-11-2021 for placement in the available vacant seats for admission to the Post Basic Bask (Nursing) and M.Sc (Nursing) courses.[Soumi Das v. State of West Bengal, 2022 SCC OnLine Cal 401, decided on 01-03-2022]

Mr Parha Sarathi Das and Mr Hafiz Ali, Advocates for the petitioners

Mr Swapan Kumar Dutta and Mr Dipankar Das Gupta, Advocates for the State

Mr Amitava Chaudhuri, Mr Moniruzzaman, Mrs Mololeena Chaudhuri and Mr N. Roy, Advocates for WEJEEB.

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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