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HC directs KU to pay Rs 1 lakh compensation to student for faulty evaluation

12:17 AM May 21, 2024 IST | D A RASHID
hc directs ku to pay rs 1 lakh compensation to student for faulty evaluation
High Court of Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar, May 20: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has directed University of Kashmir to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to a student as “damages” for evaluating his answer sheet incorrectly in B A examination.


Observing an “illegality and arbitrariness” in the evaluation, a bench of Justice Javed Iqbal asked the varsity to pay the damages to Abdul Basit, who was shown to have failed in General English Paper for having secured 27 as against 38 pass marks in the examination of 5th Semester B A for the Session 2017- 18.


Basit in response to an application to the University obtained xerox copy of his answer sheet which revealed that one of the questions had not been evaluated and no marks thereof awarded. He applied for re-evaluation of the paper and in the wake of the process he was shown to have secured 40 marks. However, the varsity scaled down the 40 marks to 34 marks on the basis of a rule and in the process changed Basit’s result for the paper from pass to fail yet again.


In his plea, Basit sought court’s intervention for a direction to rectify the error by awarding marks to all three questions and reflect the marks in the marks sheet of his 5th-semester final examination.


Basit’s counsel Bhat Fayaz submitted before the court that the KU authorities infringed the legal and fundamental rights of the Basit by their arbitrary and unreasonable acts of omission and Commission.


“Firstly having not awarded marks to one of the questions in the answer sheet of the petitioner and thereafter though awarded the due marks to the said question making the petitioner pass in the paper yet by applying some unknown rule slashed down the said pass marks and yet again declared the petitioner failed in the paper in question,” he argued.


“Even thereafter in order to cover-up their unfair acts (varsity) compelled the petitioner to once again reappear in the paper in question though the petitioner had passed the same after re-evaluation”, the counsel said.


In its objections, the varsity said the petition was grossly misconceived both in law and on facts, in as much as none of the petitioner’s rights, much less the fundamental rights, that could be enforced by the Court in its writ jurisdiction had been infringed or violated.

“The grievance projected by the petitioner in the writ petition has been already addressed and resolved,” it said.

The varsity admitted that the petitioner secured 40 marks upon re-evaluation of the paper in question saying by application of Statute 10 of the University pertaining to the re-evaluation of answer scripts, the 40 marks got slashed down to 34 marks rendering the petitioner ‘fail’ again. However, thereafter, it said, the petitioner in a fresh examination of the paper passed the same.

After hearing the parties, the court referred to Notification No. F(Amend-St.Re- valuation)Acad/KU/ 20 dated 21.10.2020, produced by the University.

“A bare perusal of the aforesaid Statute would manifestly tend to show that same did not in any manner apply to the case of the petitioner having regard to the issue pertaining to the paper in question, be it the un- amended or amended statute, in that, the respondents admittedly have applied the Statute to the case of the petitioner arbitrarily and illegally and in the process have acted unreasonably and unfairly having resulted into substantial and grave prejudice to the petitioner by subjecting him to reappear in the examination afresh in the paper in question, although the petitioner was found to have passed the paper in question,” the court said.

The Court underscored that the mindless action of the KU authorities for having applied the statute wrongly to the case of the petitioner pertaining to the paper in question inasmuch as compelling him to reappear in the examination again disregarding the marks secured by him in the paper in question after re-evaluation is apparent. “ The petitioner thus cannot be left remediless and be compensated by payment of damages in Public Law on the basis of the principles laid down by the Apex Court in a series of judgments including in case titled as United Air Travel Services v. Union of India reported in (2018) 8 SCC 141”, it said.

While the Court concluded that in the facts of the present case, the illegality and arbitrariness on the part of the varsity was manifest and writ large, it said the same was a fit case for grant of compensation in favour of the petitioner. The Court observed that given the fact that there was no quantification based on actual loss, the award of damages to the petitioner payable by the Respondent-University was in Public Law.

Allowing the petition, the court directed the University to pay an amount of Rupees One lakh to the petitioner as damages within a period of four weeks from the date of passing of this order failing which, it said, the amount would carry an interest @ 6% per annum apart from any other legal remedy as may be available to the petitioner.