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Court rap for HS scrutiny clause

Calcutta High Court has labelled the post-publication scrutiny (PPS) regulation of the West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education ultra vires to the Constitution and ruled that it be set aside.

Justice Pratap Roy on Thursday directed the council to frame a new rule with regard to the scrutiny of the answer-scripts, within two weeks. He urged the council to ensure that the revised rule would not just be within the provisions of the Constitution but also be beneficial to students.

Stressing the need for speed, Justice Roy also said that the PPS results for Higher Secondary 2003 examinees should be published by September 30.

According to the existing regulation — Rule 9 (XIX) of West Bengal Higher Secondary Examination Regulation — aggrieved students can file an application seeking PPS of their answer-scripts. But this regulation does not fix a time limit for the scrutiny results to be announced by the council.

Moumita De, an HS candidate from Chandannagar Balika Bidyalaya, who had failed her chemistry exams, had filed a petition before Calcutta High Court challenging the scrutiny rule. She argued that the rule did not serve any purpose for aggrieved examinees, as the scrutiny results were not announced for months on end.

The petitioner alleged that while the council did not allow students to apply for PPS after 30 days of publication of results, it did not follow any deadline regarding publication of the scrutiny results. “In many cases, the PPS results have been published after 10 months,” she alleged.

Moumita also questioned the no-reassessment rule in HS. “It is difficult to get justice only by scrutiny of the papers as answer-scripts are not reassessed. There should be a scientific method by which students can be benefited,” she stated.

Following Justice Roy’s order, Ranajit Chatterjee, counsel for the HS council, said his client would react only after receiving a certified copy of the verdict. “I will challenge the order if my client asks me to file an appeal in the higher bench,” he said.

A similar petition seeking revision of PPS rules of the council is pending before the division bench presided over by Chief Justice A.K. Mathur, a high court spokesperson said. The division bench has the liberty to “re-hear the matter” even after Thursday’s single-bench ruling.

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