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Legal Wrong results: Students must seek govt help

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by rajneesh madhok, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. rajneesh madhok

    rajneesh madhok India
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    Wrong results: Students must seek govt help

    The Sunday Tribune - Spectrum

    HERE is some disappointing news for students who have appeared for various board examinations. If, by chance, the examination board makes a mistake in the computation of your marks, or mixes up answer sheets, or announces an incorrect result, this time you cannot approach the consumer court for relief. A Supreme Court order has unfortunately taken away the right of the students to haul up examination boards before courts.
    In fact, this would apply to university examination boards, too. But don’t lose heart. With the Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on a reforms mode, this is the right time for you to demand an independent Ombudsman to deal exclusively with the negligent acts of examination boards. Students should in fact use their holiday time to write to the Central Government and the state governments to provide for such a mechanism that would resolve quickly any complaint arising out of the negligence of the boards, so that the affected students do not suffer, or do not lose an academic year, as usually happens.
    As far as courts are concerned, there has been a lot of flip-flap on the issue ever since the courts came to be constituted under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. However, each case that came up before the court showed not just the sloth and inefficiency of the examination boards that put out wrong results, but their callous indifference to the plight of students who were the victims of such negligence.
    In the absence of any other platform for redress of such complaints, students saw in the courts a ray of hope. But even this was extinguished in 1996, when the highest consumer court, the national consumer disputes redressal commission, held in the case of the Chairman, Board of Examinations, Madras vs Mohideen Abdul Kader, that issues pertaining to examinations conducted by boards and universities did not come under the jurisdiction of the courts.
    Then in September, 2000, in the case of Bhupesh Khurana vs Vishwa Buddha Parishad (OP no 168 of 1994), the commission held that services rendered by universities and educational institutions came under the jurisdiction of courts. However, it did not make any reference to examination-related issues, and for several years after that, there were contradicting orders of the national commission. While in the case of Bihar School Examination Board vs Suresh Prasad Sinha, decided in October, 2002, it gave relief to a student affected by the deficient service rendered by the examination board. A year later, in the case of Parveen Rani vs the Punjab School Education Board, it expressed the view that courts cannot question examination boards.
    However, the cloud over the issue cleared in 2008, when in the case of the Board of Secondary Education vs Sasmita Moharana (FA No 15 of 2007), the national commission made it clear that courts would not allow erring examination boards to go scot-free. Observing that such actions by examination boards had an adverse impact on the minds of students, causing depression and, sometimes, even leading to suicide (around this time, the media had reported the case of a wrong declaration of results leading to a student’s suicide), the commission said it would not take a lenient view of such negligence.
    Even as students and parents heaved a sigh of relief, the Supreme Court, in response to an appeal filed by the Bihar School Examination Board examined the issue in detail last September. Said the Supreme Court: "We are clearly of the view that the board is not a service provider, and a student who takes an examination is not a consumer, and consequently, complaint under the Consumer Protection Act will not be maintainable against the Board (Bihar School Examination Board vs Suresh Prasad Sinha, Civil Appeal no 3911 of 2003)."
    This, once for all settles the issue. In fact consequent to this, in another case pertaining to Bangalore University, where a student’s marks in computer science had been declared as 05 instead of 50, the national commission said it had no jurisdiction to entertain the complaint (Bangalore Univesity vs Sri Dattatri S., RP NO 1408 of 2005). Students should now bring to the notice of the HRD Ministry these developments and urge the minister to take immediately appropriate steps to protect their rights when the results are announced.

    Rajneesh Madhok
     
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