HC dismisses plea challenging several questions of Delhi Higher Judicial Service exam

The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition challenging several questions of the Delhi Higher Judicial Service preliminary examination which was held in February, saying there was no evidence of commission of any material error in the case.

A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula said the petitioner, who had appeared in the exam, has based his arguments on mere conjectures and failed to elucidate even a single valid ground to challenge the reasoning given by the Examination-cum-Judicial Education and Training Programme Committee.

“Therefore, the petitioner has failed to demonstrate that the impugned questions and answer keys are inherently incorrect or manifest injustice has occurred in the present case.

“Keeping in view the factual and legal scenario, this court finds no ground to interfere with the decision of the committee as there is no evidence of commission of any material error in the present case. Consequently, the present writ petition, being bereft of merit, is dismissed,” the bench said.

The court was dealing with a petition filed by Shivnath Tripathi seeking directions to the Delhi High Court Registrar General and other authorities to modify answers of three questions and delete another one, of the objective type exam which was held on February 2.

The bench said the committee has considered the queries raised by the petitioner at length and given detailed reasons as to why the impugned answer key is the single, objective, correct answer of the four options provided in the exam.

“In our view, there is no other answer that can possibly be ‘correct’. This court is also in complete agreement with the opinion and reasons given by the committee in its minutes of meeting dated November 19, 2020. The committee has rightly concluded that the impugned questions have been correctly framed and answer keys provided thereto are also correct,” the bench said.

The bench also said it was of the view that the petitioner has sought to reap the benefit of the observations of the high court in another case without actually following the standard/ test of judicial review discussed thereunder.

It said the division bench of the high court, in the previous judgment, has held that a candidate could not be penalised for answers at variance with the key only if the answer key was proven to be incorrect beyond doubt.

“However, it is relevant to note that according to the said judgment, an answer key cannot be disregarded as being incorrect merely on a doubt. The court had reiterated the settled law that there is always a presumption of correctness regarding the answer key and it may be subject to judicial review only when it is ‘demonstrably wrong’, that is, it must be such as no reasonable body of men well-versed in the particular subject would regard it as correct,” it said.

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