The Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission (UPPSC) can now conduct main exams for Upper Subordinate Services Examination 2017 as the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed its appeal challenging the Allahabad High Court order directing re-evaluation of the answer-sheets.
Preliminary exam for 677 positions were held on September 24, 2017. Advertisement for the same was issued on February 22, 2017. Initially exam was for recruitment of 251 posts but later it was increased to 677.
Allowing the appeal by the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission, the vacation bench of Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Deepak Gupta set aside the High Court's March 30 order directing the re-evaluation of the answer-sheets of the preliminary examination.
" ... we are clearly of the view that the High Court over stepped its jurisdiction by giving the directions which amounted to setting aside the decision of experts in the field," the apex court said.
"The law is well settled that the onus is on the candidate to not only demonstrate that the key answer is incorrect but also that it is a glaring mistake which is totally apparent and no inferential process or reasoning is required to show that the key answer is wrong," observed Justice Gupta speaking for the bench.
The court also said that the constitutional courts "must exercise great restraint in such matters and should be reluctant to entertain a plea challenging the correctness of the key answers".
"Judges cannot take on the role of experts in academic matters. Unless, the candidate demonstrates that the key answers are patently wrong on the face of it, the courts cannot enter into the academic field, weigh the pros and cons of the arguments given by both sides and then come to the conclusion as to which of the answer is better or more correct," said the judgment accepting the challenge to High Court order of re-evaluation of answer-sheets.
When there are conflicting views, then the court "must bow down to the opinion of the experts", it added.
"Judges are not and cannot be experts in all fields and, therefore, they must exercise great restraint and should not overstep their jurisdiction to upset the opinion of the experts," said the judgment pointing to limited scope of judicial review in such matters.
The court noted that before final answer key was uploaded, the answer key provided by the one who had set the paper for preliminary exam was vetted by the two committees of experts having 15 and 18 members respectively.
The answer key that emerged after being vetted by the two expert committees was uploaded for inviting suggestions.
There was 962 objections which were gone into for two days by another 26 member expert committee before the final answer key for the purposes of final result was uploaded.
The High Court had ordered the deletion of certain questions and re-evaluation of the answer sheets of the candidates on the basis of the correct answer to the questions identified by it.
It had ordered the candidates who would qualify the preliminary examination after re-evaluation would be entitled to appear in main written examination, also adding that the andidates who had earlier qualified the preliminary examination but failed to be successful after re-evaluation will not be entitled to appear in main written examination.
Aggrieved candidates had moved the High Court challenging the correctness of 14 questions and it, after examining these, negated the plea in respect of 11 questions and deleted one question.
In case of another question, the High Court held that there were two correct answers.
In the case of remaining one question, it accepted the contention of petitioner candidate while not agreeing with the Commission.
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