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SC keeps hands off marks

New Delhi, Jan. 4: The Supreme Court has ruled that the judiciary cannot fix cut-off marks for exams, as it is the state’s prerogative to do so after consultations with experts.

Any decision on fixing marks/ cut-off marks is taken by the government on the basis of various factors, so it will not be proper for courts to substitute the views of the state and its authorities, the judges said.

“We find it difficult to accede to the request of the (petitioner’s) counsel. The question… whether cut-off marks stipulated for reserved category candidates have to be reduced or not is entirely a matter for the state government to decide.

“The court exercising writ jurisdiction cannot grant such relaxation/ concessional marks, as the same is the decision to be taken by the state government.

“Taking into consideration a variety of factors, state/ authorities concerned in their wisdom would fix the cut-off marks and court cannot substitute its views to that of the experts. We, in such circumstances, are not inclined to interfere with these special leave petitions and the same are dismissed,” the court said in a recent judgment.

A bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and A.K. Sikri passed the ruling while dismissing a candidate’s appeal seeking directions to the Tamil Nadu government to fix lower cut-off marks for reserved category students such as SC/STs, backward classes and OBCs.

Earlier, the candidate had approached Madras High Court seeking directions to the Tamil Nadu government to fix lower cut-off marks for socially disadvantaged sections appearing for the Tamil Nadu Teacher Eligibility Test, 2013.

The high court had said the question whether concessional marks was to be allowed was a policy matter to be decided by the state and the court could not give a direction to the government to reduce the minimum marks for any reserved category.

The petitioner was aggrieved as the state had fixed 60 per cent as the qualifying marks for all categories of candidates. He contended that such uniformity violated Article 16 (4) of the Constitution.

According to Article 16(4), the state may make any provision for reservation of appointments or posts in favour of any socially backward class citizen.

However, the high court did not find any merit in the plea and dismissed it.