Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: After some NEET-PG 2021 candidates, who could not get admission despite participating all the rounds of counsellings, sought for Special Stray Round of counselling with respect to the unfilled 1456 seats, the bench of MR Shah* and Anirudhha Bose, JJ has refused the request after observing that,

“The process of admission and that too in the medical education cannot be endless. It must end at a particular point of time. The time schedule has to be adhered to, otherwise, ultimately, it may affect the medical education and the public health.”

The NEET-PG 2021 examination was conducted on 11.09.2021. The result was declared on 28.09.2021. As per the earlier counselling scheme, there were two rounds of counselling for All India Seats as well as State Quotas seats respectively. However, as per the modified counselling scheme, counselling is to be carried in four rounds and no seats were to be reverted to States. It is important to note that at the end of the four rounds of counselling, each for All India Quota and State Quotas (in all eight rounds of counselling) and thereafter one another round of counselling was conducted, out of 40,000 seats, 1456 seats have remained vacant, out of which approximately, more than 1100 seats are non-clinical seats, which every year remain vacant.

The Supreme Court observed that,

“… when the Medical Counselling Committee and the Union of India have to adhere to the time schedule for completing the admission process and when the current admission of NEET-PG-2021 is already behind time schedule and ever after conducting eight to nine rounds of counselling, still some seats, which are mainly non-clinical courses seats have remained vacant and thereafter when a conscious decision is taken by the Union Government/the Medical Counselling Committee, not to conduct a further Special Stray Round of counselling, it cannot be said that the same is arbitrary.”

The Court also took note of the fact that after closure of the last round of counselling on 07.05.2022, the entire software mechanism has been closed and the security deposit is refunded to the eligible candidates. The admission process for NEET-PG-2022 has already begun, the results for the NEET-PG-2022 has been announced on 01.06.2022 and as per the time schedule, the counselling process is going to start in July, 2022.

Noticing that if one additional Special Stray Round of counselling is conducted now, as prayed, in that case, it may affect the admission process for NEET-PG-2022, the bench held,

“The decision of the Union Government and the Medical Counselling Committee not to have Special Stray Round of counselling is in the interest of Medical Education and Public Health. There cannot be any compromise with the merits and/or quality of Medical Education, which may ultimately affect the Public Health.”

[Dr. Astha Goel v. Medical Counselling Committee, 2022 SCC OnLine SC 734, decided on 10.06.2022]


*Judgment by: Justice MR Shah


Counsels

For Petitioners: Senior Advocates Rachna Shrivastava and A.D.N. Rao, Advocates Avijit Mani Tripathi and Kunal Cheema

For UOI: ASG Balbir Singh,

For Medical Counselling Committee and National Board of Examinations: Advocate Gaurav Sharma

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ has refused to interfere with the assessment Scheme propounded by the C.B.S.E or I.C.S.E for the Class XII students and has held that,

“… the stated Schemes are fair and reasonable and take into account concerns of all students and is in larger public interest.”

Let’s have a look at why the Schemes and the decisions of the Boards were challenged:

Decision to cancel the Class XII examinations and declare results on the basis of internal assessment marks as propounded in the Scheme must be set aside and examination must be conducted for academic year 2020-21.

Rejected.

The Argument was rejected on the ground that the Boards have taken decision to cancel the examinations, which according to them, is in larger public interest including the body of students pursuing education with them.

“The fact that other Boards or institutions have been able to conduct examination does not necessarily mean that the Boards before us are bound by that dispensation. The Boards are autonomous Boards and are entitled to evolve their schemes independently.”

The Scheme ought to provide option at the threshold as to whether the student wants to appear in the examination for improvisation of marks, to be conducted by the concerned Board for that purpose. Further, the results of the internal assessment should be declared together with the results of such examination.

Rejected.

“… tweaking the Scheme in any manner, as propounded by the two Boards would result in denial of one option to the students and also delay the declaration of results indefinitely. There would be uncertainty until the examination for improvisation is actually conducted and results are declared.”

The Court explained that if the students are given the option of accepting the internal assessment marks, the results could be declared before 31.07.2021 and despite declaration of those results, they may still have the option of appearing in the examination for improvisation, if they so choose to.

Interestingly, somewhat similar Scheme was adopted in the previous academic year and the body of students accepted the internal assessment results. Hardly, 10 students from I.C.S.E. and 15000 from C.B.S.E. availed of the option to appear in the examination for improvisation of marks.

Past performance of three years of the students is being reckoned for internal assessment in the Scheme propounded by C.B.S.E is unfair and irrational.

Rejected.

The Court refused to take a second look at the Scheme which has been formulated by the expert body which was appointed by the Board consisting of thirteen members after taking all aspects into consideration in order to ensure that no candidate/student is prejudiced.

“… the Scheme intends to rationalize the internal assessment performance and bring semblance of parity amongst the assessment of different schools. This exercise will be undertaken by a broad-based Result Committee.”

Further, the Boards are independent and autonomous bodies and entitled to take their own decision with regard to the affairs of conducting examination by them.

The result should be declared on the same day.

Rejected.

Attorney General sumtted that U.G.C. will be issuing necessary instructions to ensure that the admission process by the colleges and institutions should commence only after the declaration of results by the C.B.S.E. and I.C.S.E., including the State Boards. Hence, ther aforementioned argument was rejected by the Court.

There is possibility of C.B.S.E. schools manipulating the records as the relevant data on the basis of which internal assessment is to be done is not in the custody or in possession of the C.B.S.E.

Rejected.

Stating that the argument was nothing but a vague apprehension, the Court took note of the Attorney General’s submission that the broad-based Result Committee would examine all aspects of the matter and take decision on the basis of registers maintained by the concerned schools, and inspected by the competent authority.

Clarification on conduct of examinations for private, patrachar and second compartment candidates

Examination will be duly conducted in which all these candidates can appear as private candidates and such examination will be conducted between 15.08.2021 to 15.09.2021 and the results would be declared at the earliest so that even these students would be in a position to pursue their further education, if they so desire.

Read the Schemes here

Class XII students’ evaluation scheme by CBSE and ICSE approved by Supreme Court with two additions: Here’s what we know

[Mamta Sharma v. CBSE, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 433, order dated 22.06.2021]


For UOI: Mr. KK Venugopal, Attorney General for India

For CBSE: Mr. Tushar Mehta, Solicitor General of India

For ICSE: Senior Advocate JK Das

For interveners: Senior Advocate Vikas Singh

For Petitioners: Advocates Anshul Gupta and Abhishek Choudhary

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The bench of AM Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari, JJ has accepted the schemes presented by CBSE and ICSE for assessment of students who were due to appear in the now cancelled Class XII Board exams.

The Court however, made clear that the scheme must incorporate two aspects:

(i) providing for Dispute Resolution mechanism, in case the students apply for correction of the final result declared by the concerned Boards.

(ii) the time-line to be specified for (a) declaration of the 6 result and (b) the date before which the optional examination will be conducted, subject to conducive situation and logistical constraints.

The Court also rejected the intervenor’s plea that the decision of the CBSE and the ICSE to cancel the examination be re-visited. It, however, gave time to Senior Advocate Vikas Singh to examine the scheme propounded by the concerned Boards and listed the matter on 21st June, 2021. The Court, however, made clear that

“… the concerned Boards are free to notify the final scheme on the above lines and include the two suggestions given by the Court. If any further suggestion is given by Mr. Vikas Singh, learned senior counsel, that matter can be addressed appropriately.”

Key highlights of CBSE’s Scheme

  • Due to cancellation of the Board examinations, the assessment of theory portion of 80/70/60/50/30 marks will be done by the school based on the following:

Class XII: Marks based on Unit Test/Mid-Term/Pre-Board Exam – 40 %

The computation of theory marks for class XII will be based on performance in one or more Unit Test(s)/MidTerm/Pre-Board(s) theory examination. The result committee of the school may decide weightage to be given to each exam based on the credibility and reliability of the assessment.

Class XI: Marks based on theory component of final exam -30 %

Class X: Marks based on average theory component of best three performing subjects out of main 5 subjects – 30 %

This average will be uniformly awarded to all the class XII subjects based on theory weightage. To facilitate ease in entering the theory marks of class X, the Board will provide the marks for the students who have appeared in CBSE class X examinations. For students of other Boards, the schools will have to enter the information based on the class.

  • The marks of Practical/Internal Assessment etc. of class-XII will be on actual basis as uploaded by the school on the CBSE portal.
  • The total marks awarded should be in consonance with the past performance of the school in ClassXII Board Examinations.
  • The computation of theory marks for class XII will be based on performance in one or more Unit Test(s)/MidTerm/Pre-Board(s) theory examination. The result committee of the school may decide weightage to be given to each exam based on the credibility and reliability of the assessment.
  • To ensure standardisation, each school will have to internally moderate the marks to account for the school level variations by using a reliable reference standard.
  • The historical performance of the school, in terms of the best overall performance in the previous three years’ Board examination, will be taken as the reference for moderating the marks assessed by the school for 2020-2021.
  • The subject wise marks assessed by the school for 2020-2021 should be within a range of +/- 5 marks obtained by the students in the school in the subject in the reference year. However, the overall average marks for the school assessed in 2020-2021, for all the subjects, should not exceed the overall average marks obtained by the school by 2 marks in the specific reference year.
  • Once the Result Committee finalizes the marks on the basis of tests/exams, it has to ensure that the marks of students are aligned with the broad distribution of marks provided by the Board. It may be noted that the indicated distribution has to be followed broadly and there may be some difference in terms of number of actual students in each category of the distribution than the one indicated. However, the school subject wise and overall scores should be within the limits provided.
  • Students not satisfied with the Assessment Students who are not satisfied with the assessment, done based on the policy will be given an opportunity to appear in examinations to be conducted by the board when conditions are conducive for holding the examinations. As per this policy, marks scored in later examination will be considered as final.
  • For Private, Patrachar and 2nd chance Compartment candidates etc. Examination will be conducted by the Board as and when the conditions become conducive for conduct of such examinations. The details will be notified in due course.”

Key highlights of ICSE’s Scheme

  1. The components used to arrive at the formula limited to

(i) marks percentage in class X board examinations,

(ii) the Project & Practical Work in the subjects,

(iii) the performance of the candidates in the school examinations in the subjects in classes XI and XII, measured through their best marks obtained in the two years (referred to as raw marks) and (iv) the best performance of the school in the last six years.

  1. The first factor measures the general proficiency of the candidates, the next two factors measure the subject proficiency of the candidates, while the last 5 is a measure of the general quality of the schools the candidates are appearing from.
  2. To arrive at the weights, detailed analyses were performed on the data from the past board examinations from the years 2015 to 2020.
  3. Extensive scenario analyses were done based on different subjects.

[Mamta Sharma v. CBSE, 2021 SCC OnLine SC 430, order dated 17.06.2021]


For UOI: Attorney General KK Venugopal

For CBSE: Solicitor General Tushar Mehta

For ICSE: Senior Advocate JK Das

For Intervenors: Senior Advocate Vikas Singh

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gujarat High Court: Sangeeta K. Vishen, J., allowed an application directing the respondent to allow the petitioner to appear in the examination for the subject – Foundation Engineering while observing that technical glitches could be faced during an online examination.

The petitioner, an engineering student had approached the High Court against the Gujarat Technological University which had barred him to appear for the pre-check trial test declaring that he had failed in the test which was conducted for the subject. The counsel for the petitioner, N.M. Kapadia contended that the petitioner was unable to answer the entire set of questions due to technical glitches during the online examination. He further contended that when the pre-check trial test was conducted on 15-9-2020, the technical glitch was again experienced by the petitioner as well as other students. Accordingly, the University, on the same day had tweeted that “Students who are not able to successfully submit today’s Pre-check trial test can re-appear tomorrow i.e. 16-9-2020 from 11:00 to 11:30 AM Login will start from 10:15 AM Students can appear using the same credentials used by them today and that are displayed in their student portal.” It was submitted that thereafter, the petitioner had appeared in the pre-check trial test on 16-9-2020. It was further contended that as is discernible from the contents of the affidavit-in-reply filed by the respondent 1 – University, it suggests that there is the least likelihood of any malfunction. The University does not say that there was no malfunction in the system. The stand of the University was that remedial examination was available to the petitioner, as the petitioner had failed in one of the subjects; the same would grossly affect the career of the petitioner inasmuch as, the petitioner will carry two mark sheets for the same subject, for no fault of him. It was contended that right to education is a fundamental right and the same cannot be tinkered with by the University in such a fashion.

The Court while allowing the application directed the respondent to allow the petitioner to appear in the examination for the subject – Foundation Engineering. The Court further observed that the fact that the situation complained of was beyond his control and stated that

As the technology is and we all know, it has the tendency of uncertainties, be it network issues, device issues, etc. When working with technology, technical glitches cannot be ruled out and must be taken into consideration.”

[Harsh Hiteshbhai Gandhi v. Gujarat Technological University, 2020 SCC OnLine Guj 1328, decided on 18-09-2020]


Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has put this story together

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Pratibha M. Singh, J., while addressing the matter with regard to issuance of degree certificates of students from Delhi University held that,

DU ought to take a pragmatic approach in this matter and seriously consider the option of setting up a special cell, which would entertain requests of students on email, for digital-certificates, mark-sheets, transcripts etc. and installing the software necessary for issuance of degree-certificates with security features, to be sent online through email in a timely manner.

Petitioners graduated from Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi in 2018 but have not received their degree-certificate till date.

Petitioners submitted that they wished to apply for their residency programmes in the United States and to sit in the USMLE examination. As per the petitioners, the date by which the degree-certificates would have to be uploaded for processing to the ‘My ECFMG’ mobile application would be 15th August, 2020.

Court has repeatedly faced petitions by students of Delhi University seeking their transcripts and degree-certificates.

Students especially doctors providing their services during the COVID-19 pandemic ought not to have been forced to approach this Court for seeking their degree-certificates, especially when they graduated two years ago.

For the above stated grievance by the students, Dean has not responded.

Bench stated that, there is no reason as to why DU should not be adopting technically advanced methods to ensure that the students are not inconvenienced.

Further adding to the above, it was stated that students ought not to be forced to approach Courts for issuance of their mark-sheets, transcripts, degree-certificates etc., which ought to be issued in the natural course within a reasonable time. [Dr Akshita Khosla v. University of Delhi, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 830 , decided on 22-07-2020]