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What a Mess! This is perhaps the only way to describe the events that have transpired in the examination conducted by the U.P. Secondary Education Services Selection Board - Supreme Court

December 11, 2017


UP SESSB Examination Judgment

A Supreme Court Bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta Pronounced Judgment and issued direction in a Civil Appeal filed by the candidates appeared for examination conducted by UP Secondary Education Services Selection Board for the Post of Trained Graduate Teachers in Social Science in which more than 36000 candidates appeared for the examination.


On 15th January, 2009 the U.P. Secondary Education Services Selection Board published an advertisement inviting applications for recruitment to the post of Trained Graduate Teachers in Social Science. The recruitment was to be in accordance with the provisions of the U.P. Secondary Education Services Selection Board Act, 1982 and the Rules framed thereunder.

More than 36,000 candidates took the written examination held pursuant to the advertisement and the result of the written examination was declared by the Board on 18th June, 2010. The written examination was based on multiple choice answers which were to be scanned on OMR sheets.

The candidates who qualified in the written examination were called for an interview held between 16th and 26th July, 2010. Eventually, the combined result (written examination and interview) was declared on 14th September, 2010. According to the appellants, they were successful in the written examination as well as in the interview and were amongst those who were in the select list for recruitment.

Some candidates who were not successful in the written examination or in the interview filed writ petitions in the Allahabad High Court between 2010 and 2011. All these writ petitions were dismissed by a learned Single Judge. The reasons for dismissal of these writ petitions were that there was no provision for re-evaluation of the answer sheets in the Uttar Pradesh Secondary Education Services Selection Board Act, 1982 or the Rules framed thereunder. Reliance was also placed by the learned Single Judge for dismissing writ petitions on the decision of this Court in Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission v. Mukesh Thakur in which this Court considered a large number of its earlier decisions and held: "Thus, the law on the subject emerges to the effect that in the absence of any provision under the statute or statutory rules/regulations, the Court should not generally direct revaluation."

Another batch of writ petitions came to be listed before another learned Single Judge of the High Court. The subject and issues were the same and the learned Single Judge admitted these writ petitions for final hearing notwithstanding the dismissal of several similar petitions. The challenge made by the writ petitioners was to seven questions/answers in the written examination which, according to them, had incorrect key answers.

The learned Single Judge personally examined those seven questions and concluded it. On this basis, the learned Single Judge passed a judgment and order dated 8th February, 2012 directing re-examination of the answer sheets of these 77 writ petitioners. It was further directed that in case these writ petitioners are selected then those at the bottom of the select list would automatically have to be pushed out.

Feeling aggrieved by the decision of the learned Single Judge, the Board preferred Special Appeal No. 442 of 2012 before the Division Bench of the High Court. Some candidates also preferred Special Appeals directed against the judgment and order dated 8th February, 2012. The Special Appeal filed by the Board was dismissed by a Division Bench of the High Court on 13th March, 2012. In some other Special Appeal filed by a candidate, it was stated by the Board on 11th April, 2012 that the answer sheets of all the candidates would be re-evaluated in the light of the judgment of the learned Single Judge.

Following up on this, the judgment and order passed by the learned Single Judge was implemented on 10th September, 2012 and the reevaluated results of the written examination of all candidates were declared. As a result of the re-evaluation, it appears that some candidates, who were declared successful in the combined result declared on 14th September, 2010 were now declared unsuccessful. The appellants before us were not affected by the re-evaluation of the written examination and continued in the select list. Thereafter, a set of petitions was filed including some before this Court and eventually it came to pass that those aggrieved by the order passed by the Division Bench on 13th March, 2012 could file review petitions On 12th May, 2014 the Board published the final select list of candidates who had qualified in the written examination as well as in the interview. In this final select list, the appellants did not find a place and, therefore, they challenged the order of the learned Single Judge dated 8th February, 2012. According to the appellants the learned Single Judge had incorrectly re-evaluated the seven disputed questions and had arrived at incorrect answers to these questions.

The Division Bench heard all the review petitions as well as the appeals and passed an order dated 28th April, 2015 referring the seven disputed questions/answers for consideration by a one-man Expert Committee. On or about 18th May, 2015 the Expert Committee gave its Report to which the appellants filed objections. Eventually, by the judgment and order dated 2nd November, 2015 the Division Bench directed a fresh evaluation of the answer sheets on the basis of the Report of the Expert Committee. This decision of the Division Bench is under challenge before us.

During the pendency of the appeals in this Court, the third reevaluation was completed by the Board. The result of the third reevaluation has been kept in a sealed cover. The sealed cover was initially filed before us but later returned to learned counsel for the Board.

The Bench of Supreme Court Judges said: "We are pained that an examination for recruitment of Trained Graduate Teachers advertised in January, 2009 has still not attained finality even after the passage of more than eight years. The system of holding public examinations needs to be carefully scrutinised and reviewed so that selected candidates are not drawn into litigation which could go on for several years."

The question before this Court was: "Whether, under law, a candidate has a right to demand an inspection, verification and revaluation of answer books and whether the statutory regulations framed by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education governing the subject insofar as they categorically state that there shall be no such right can be said to be ultra vires, unreasonable and void."

The court said that "if an error is committed by the examination authority, the complete body of candidates suffers. The entire examination process does not deserve to be derailed only because some candidates are disappointed or dissatisfied or perceive some injustice having been caused to them by an erroneous question or an erroneous answer. All candidates suffer equally, though some might suffer more but that cannot be helped since mathematical precision is not always possible."

The Bench concluded the Judgment with the following Direction.


"(1) The results prepared by the Board consequent upon the decision dated 2nd November, 2015 of the High Court should be declared by the Board within two weeks from today.


(2) Candidates appointed and working as Trained Graduate Teachers pursuant to the declaration of results on the earlier occasions, if found unsuccessful on the third declaration of results, should not be removed from service but should be allowed to continue.

(3) Candidates now selected for appointment as Trained Graduate Teachers (after the third declaration of results) should be appointed by the State by creating supernumerary posts. However, these newly appointed Trained Graduate Teachers will not be entitled to any consequential benefits."

The Bench said that "Before concluding, we must express our deep anguish with the turn of events whereby the learned Single Judge entertained a batch of writ petitions, out of which these appeals have arisen, even though several similar writ petitions had earlier been dismissed by other learned Single Judge(s). Respect for the view taken by a coordinate Bench is an essential element of judicial discipline. A judge might have a difference of opinion with another judge, but that does not give him or her any right to ignore the contrary view. In the event of a difference of opinion, the procedure sanctified by time must be adhered to so that there is demonstrated respect for the rule of law."

The court disposed of the appeals and miscellaneous application with the above direction.




Read the Judgment of Supreme Court dated 11.12.2017



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