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16-year-old’s SSC answer sheet found torn, supervisor says student didn’t tear it, but board debars her for 2 years

The HC directed the board to declare Yogesheree Patil’s result within a week and consider her case for admission to the first year of junior college based on merit

mumbai Updated: Aug 21, 2017 11:54 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Bombay high court,SSC
The bench also rejected the argument that decisions of academic bodies in cases concerning unfair means are immune from judicial review.(File)

The Bombay high court (HC) recently rapped the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education for wrongly debarring a 16-year-old for “tearing and destroying two pages of her answer sheet of Marathi language paper”.

“We find this is a clear case of perversity,” said a division bench of Justice Shantanu Kemkar and Justice Mahesh Sonak, commenting on the action taken by the Unfair Means Committee of the Board.

The HC directed the board to declare Yogesheree Patil’s result within a week and consider her case for admission to the first year of junior college based on merit. Noting that the girl had been “treated unfairly by the Unfair Means Committee”, the bench directed the board to pay her Rs7,500 towards litigation cost.

Patil approached the HC challenging the June 16 decision of the board to withhold her SSC examination results and debar her from two more examinations on the grounds that she allegedly tore off and destroyed two pages of her Marathi language paper answer sheet.

Her lawyer pointed out that the Unfair Means Committee declared its decision without assigning any reasons, despite a report favouring the student. An officer of the board conducted an inquiry into the allegations against the 16-year-old and exonerated her.

The inquiry officer recorded the statement of the supervisor of the examination hall where Patil took the exam. The officer said pages were not torn when he got them from Patil. The inquiry officer exonerated the student saying the answer sheet passed several hands – making it difficult to find out exactly where the pages were torn and removed.

The bench also rejected the argument that decisions of academic bodies in cases concerning unfair means are immune from judicial review. “No doubt courts should be slow to interfere in such matters,” said the bench. “However, where there is violation of principle of natural justice and where the decision is vitiated by perversity and non-application of mind, as in the present case, interference is almost a duty.”

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 11:53 IST