New Delhi, April 8: Kerala High Court has set aside a university rule mandating students to sit for all papers again for failing one paper in an examination.
The judgment would be of relevance to students of any course where they have to take the full exam again if they fail in one paper.
"This judgment can be cited by students of Chartered Accountancy and various boards and universities where such a system is prevailing," Ravi Bhardwaj, a lawyer fighting education related cases, said.
However, it would not apply automatically in any other case and can only be cited by petitioners who choose to fight another case.
In the Class XII board exams under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), a student failing in two papers has to appear for all papers the next year. If a student fails in one paper, they get a chance to clear that paper the same year.
Accepting a contention of the students that "life is a see-saw but not so an examination", Justice V. Chitambaresh last week declared invalid a regulation of the Kerala University of Health Sciences that required students to reappear in all papers if they could not clear one.
Two post-graduate medical students at KUHS had failed because they did not secure the minimum marks in one of the four theory papers or in one of the clinical/practical tests.
The petitioners challenged the KUHS regulations, which prescribe that the student has secure an aggregate 50 per cent in theory papers and practical papers separately besides scoring 40 per cent in each paper.
The students argued that they should not have to appear for all papers again for having failed one paper. But the university said candidates cannot pass the examination piecemeal and that it had the right to follow stricter conditions to raise the standard of education.
The Medical Council of India, the regulator in medical education, requires a candidate to secure 50 per cent marks out of the total. It does not require them to score 50 per cent separately in the theory and practical papers nor does it spell out minimum pass marks in individual papers.
The court held that the KUHS rule is arbitrary and asked the MCI to clarify if students should be expected to get 50 per cent marks separately in the theory and practical papers. The court was silent on the pass marks for individual papers.
The mental anguish is "unimaginable" for a student who has to sit for all papers again after failing one paper by marginal marks, the court said. It is possible that a candidate who has passed in the first attempt may fail in the same paper in the second attempt. The vicious circle of pass and fail will only result in unfairness to the extreme, the court ruled.