The rulebook must be honoured. But delivering justice is of more immediate concern. It is now the turn of Calcutta University (CU) — after the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education — to face the heat from Calcutta High Court, marking a fresh chapter in the marks muddle.
Throw out the rulebook and turn off the beaten track if it does not lead to justice, the court has directed CU. Responding to a plea from a BA examinee of the university, the high court has asked it to check two of her (four) Part-II papers again, if it finds any anomaly in the first round of assessment, even though the rulebook debars her from seeking a re-assessment.
The court’s helping hand to Rumki Das, a history (honours) examinee from Maharaja Shrish Chandra College of Shyambazar, may set a precedent for thousands of CU students who cannot request a review of their marks because of stringent varsity rules, say officials.
Rumki, who appeared for her Part-II examinations last year, scored just eight in her VIIIth paper and 26 in her VIth paper. She asked for a re-assessment of the papers but the rules, requiring a minimum aggregate of 160 marks in four honours papers for an applicant to seek a review, debarred her from doing so.
The student then approached Calcutta High Court, where Justice Maharaja Sinha ordered the university to produce the two answer-scripts in question. The lawyers’ ceasework intervened and when the court finally reopened, the case found itself in Justice Arun Mitra’s court.
The matter came up for hearing last week when the CU legal team — comprising Dipankar Datta, S. Patra and R.K. Basak — produced the answer-scripts. A scrutiny in court revealed that only one answer had been ‘marked’ in the VIIIth paper. That answer — tagged with a comment (“not logically argued”) — fetched Rumki eight marks, the total she got for the paper. The other answers were ticked but not assigned any marks.
Though the university’s legal team told the court that the rulebook did not grant Rumki the right of reassessment, lawyers Srijan Nayak and S.S. Koley pleaded that rules be overlooked for the sake of justice. Justice Mitra then directed the university’s controller of examinations to go over both the papers again and have them re-checked if any irregularity was found.
The university, which had recently been applauded by the high court for managing its assessment system much better than the Madhyamik Board or the Higher Secondary Council, must reply to the court’s posers by the end of this week. For the re-check, it has been granted three weeks.