Court is not an ostrich to bury head in sand, says Madras HC, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

MADURAI: “Only an ostrich donning judicial robes will hide its head in the sand.” Saying so, the Madras high court has directed the Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) to award one mark to a teacher-aspirant and appoint her as PG assistant, since she had marked the correct answer.

Justice G R Swaminathan held that the answer to a question given by the authorities in the answer key was wrong and that the petitioner-candidate had marked the correct answer in the examination.

Slamming officials for framing all wrong answers to a question, the judge said: “Let me demonstrate. Assume, the question is ‘who is now the Prime Minister of India?’ The candidate writes ‘Narendra Modi’. If the key answer is ‘Rahul Gandhi’, will it not be absurd?”

The court was hearing the petition filed by a backward class (BC) candidate, K Vinopratha, who is an MA English degree-holder. In the TRB examination for the post of PG assistant (English) for the year 2021, she scored 97.77 marks out of 150. The cut-off mark for BC women category was 98.196.

It was her case that she had chosen correct answers for question numbers 71 and 108 and yet authorities had not given her marks.

In their response, officials conceded that all the four answers for question number 71 were wrong, and so the board had deleted it from evaluation. As for question number 108, Vinopratha’s answer was the correct one.

Pointing to this error on the part of the officials, Justice Swaminathan the petitioner-candidate had demonstrated that the key answer to question number 108 is manifestly, demonstrably and patently wrong. “The court cannot shut its eyes to what is too obvious and apparent. Only an ostrich donning judicial robes will hide its head in the sand,” he said.

The judge observed that the paper-setters had shown a wrong answer in the key. The experts have arbitrarily refused to correct the same while publishing the final key. The petitioner was wrongfully denied one mark though she has written the correct answer for question number 108. The petitioner should therefore be awarded one more mark. The petitioner will be treated as having scored 98.77 out of 150 marks.

He then directed the TRB to send a communication to the director of the school education department mentioning the marks of the petitioner as 98.77 and by including her in the appropriate place in the selection list. The director of the school education department shall issue an appointment order to the petitioner as PG assistant (English) without delay.

He, however, restricted the relief only to the petitioner-candidate, and said: “I do not want to open the flood gates. Grant of relief shall remain confined to the petitioner alone.”

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