The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Board faces damages suit over marks error

The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, already overwhelmed by a spate of “produce-papers” directives given by Calcutta High Court, tried to avoid further trouble by calling over the petitioner to announce that his marks were actually several times more than what was shown in the marksheet.

But the 17-year-old petitioner was not to be easily placated. He has decided to continue the legal battle.

Faced with yet another directive to produce yet another Madhyamik paper, senior Board officers called petitioner Feroz Hussain, who took the high court route after being given 26 in geography, to the Board office. There, he was told he had actually got 75.

Hussain, a student of the Mahanand High School, in Pandua, Hooghly district, scored over 70 per cent in the aggregate in Madhyamik 2002. His geography marks, however, shocked him, his teachers and his parents – he had got only 16 marks in the theory paper and 10 in the practical exam, scoring a total of 26 in the 100-mark paper.

Hussain got in touch with advocate Ghulam Mustafa, who filed a suit in Justice Barin Ghosh’s court on August 16. Mustafa pleaded with the court to direct the Board to produce the answer-script in question. The marks his client was given were unbelievable, he added.

The court sent a notice to the Board the very next day (August 17), telling it that the matter would be heard in detail on September 2 (next Monday).

Immediately on receiving the court’s notice, the Board got down to “action”. Senior officers contacted Hussain’s parents and asked them to bring him down to the Board’s Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road office. There on Tuesday, Board officers told Hussain they had made a mistake; he had actually got 65 in the theory portion and, therefore, his geography total now stood at 75, and not 26. He was handed over a second marksheet.

Mustafa, however, refused to back down. “Nothing doing,” he told the court on Wednesday. “My client and his family have decided to continue the legal battle,” he added, explaining that the “tremendous mental harassment” the Madhyamik-passed boy had gone through because of a government agency’s “callousness” could never be condoned.

Mustafa has now decided to file for “adequate compensation” plus costs of the legal battle. Board president Haraprasad Samaddar said there was no justification in continuing the legal battle.

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