There is always a presumption of correctness regarding the answer key of an exam
held and it may be subject to judicial review only when it is demonstrably
. Therefore, it must be such as no reasonable body of men well-versed
in the particular subject would regard it as correct. This remarkable judgement
was passed by the division bench of the Delhi High Court, consisting of Justice
Manmohan and Justice Sanjeev Narula in the matter of Shivnath Tripathi v The
Registrar General High Court of Delhi & Anr.
, [W.P. (C) 7346/2020].
The petitioner in the present writ petition alleged that a few questions in the
Delhi Higher Judiciary Service Preliminary Examination held in the month of
February 2020. The questions pertained to the Prevention of Corruption Act,
1998, Indian Succession Act, 1925, Copyright Act and a question pertaining to
IPC. The petitioner further alleged that the lack of response from the
respondent's by way of processing the petitioner's answer key has caused him
Further, the petitioner also alleged that the respondent had no reason for not
modifying or deleting the answers provided by them. The court ordered the
petitioner to file the present writ petition before the Examination-cum-Judicial
Education and Training Programme Committee of Hon'ble Judges.
The division bench of the Delhi High Court opined that:
This Court is of the view that the petitioner has sought to reap the benefit of
the observations of this Court in Sumit Kumar vs High Court of Delhi
[2016 SCC OnLine Del 2818] without actually following the standard/test of
judicial review discussed there under. The Division Bench of this Court in the
aforesaid judgment, after discussing several judgments of the Supreme Court on
the same matter, held that a candidate could not be penalized 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
i.e. it must be such as no reasonable
body of men well-versed in the particular subject would regard it as correct.
In the present case, the Examination-cum-Judicial Education and Training
Programme 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 19th November, 2020. The Committee
has rightly concluded that the impugned questions have been correctly framed and
answer keys provided thereto are also correct.
The petitioner herein has based his arguments on mere conjectures and has failed
to elucidate even a single valid ground to challenge the reasoning given by the
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.
Written By: Prime Legal Law Firm
Off Address: 39/2, 2nd floor, K G Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka-560001
Phone no: +9986386002, Email: [email protected]