The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court slaps fine on HS council for marks harassment

Calcutta, April 22: The high court today fined the West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education Rs 50,000 for “harassing” a candidate by awarding him marks much less than what he deserved in the 2001 examination.

This is the first time the court has ordered a penalty on the council for dereliction of duty.

In his judgment, Justice Barin Ghosh directed the council to pay the penalty to the student within seven days of receiving a copy of the order.

The court asked the council to realise the amount from the concerned “head-examiner”.

Ghosh ordered the council to issue a fresh marksheet to Sirazul within a month, awarding 62 per cent marks in the second half of the Arabic language paper. He had got 12 out of 100 in that paper earlier.

The judge said the conduct of the head examiner in the case was a “crime” and “any society cannot pardon him for his utter negligence”.

Sirazul appeared in the higher secondary examination of 2001 from Murshidabad’s Nawab Bari Institution. He scored 75 per cent in Arabic first paper but only 12 in the second.

He applied for a Post Publication Scrutiny (PPS) before the council. In October 2001, it wrote back to Sirazul saying his marks remained unchanged.

Sirazul moved a petition before Calcutta High Court in November. The case came up before Ghosh in August 2002.

On April 1, 2003, the answer-script in question was produced before court by the council with a report that the candidate had initially obtained 62 per cent marks in the paper but the head examiner had reduced it to 12 after re-examining it.

Ghosh directed the Calcutta University authorities to make an arrangement to get the answer script re-examined by two separate Arabic language experts. Accordingly, the university asked a reader and a lecturer of Arabic to check the paper again.

While one of the experts recommended that Sirazul should get 56 per cent marks in the second paper, the other recommended that he should get 54.

Today, when the matter came up for hearing, the university authorities placed the report before Ghosh.

On the basis of the varsity report, the judge gave his verdict.

Every year, after the publication of the higher secondary and Madhyamik results, a large number of candidates flock courts seeking judicial intervention into their problems. In 2001-’02 more than a thousand cases were filed before the high court by the examinees.

In several cases last year, the court had directed both the higher secondary council and the board of secondary education to produce the answer scripts before it.

In many cases, particularly the ones against the Madhyamik board, marks obtained by the candidates were raised. The marks of very few higher secondary candidates were changed and the council management had been feeling “proud” for a job well done.”

But, today’s judgment shows the council in poor light, especially at a time when this year’s examinations are on.

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