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Delhi HC judges’ exam results nullified by Delhi HC in successful candidate writ

The result of the Delhi Judicial Service (preliminary) exam 2011 was rescinded for 6974 candidates who did not qualify for the main exam after a Delhi high court division bench ruled against the Delhi high court registrar general in a writ petition by aggrieved examinees.

Answer sheets will be re-evaluated to re-draw a list of qualifying candidates according to the revised cut-offs of 112.8 (out of 200) and 103.4 marks for the general and reserved category respectively.

The development follows the 9 April judgment of the Delhi high court in Gunjan Sinha Jain V Registrar General, which was first reported by blogger DK Mahant.

The high court concluded that 12 questions should be deleted from and answers to 7 questions should be corrected in the answer key to the preliminary judicial services exam held on 18 December 2011. [Click here to download judgment]

The Delhi high court heard the writ of 16 petitioners seeking the quashing of 23 December’s notice short-listing candidates for the main exam, a reevaluation of marks, and restraint on the conduct of the main exam until fresh results were processed.

The petitioners alleged various faults in the December exam’s question paper and answer key.

The petitioners claimed that the question paper contained questions not in the syllabus, questions with more than one correct answer while the answer key reflected only one, questions with doubtful answers, and questions where the wrong option was marked as the correct choice in the answer key. A total of 26 questions were thus disputed by the petitioners.

Counsel for the registrar general for the Delhi High Court maintained that most of those questions had no flaws, but the division bench of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice VK Jain observed: “Our task would have been easy if the respondent had itself undertaken the responsibility of self-correction. Unfortunately, that was not to be and both sides have cast upon us the burden to adjudicate upon the correctness or otherwise of several questions and answers.”

The bench then launched into a 16,600 word judgment answering each of the allegedly anomalous questions themselves.

After concluding that 19 of the 26 disputed questions were indeed anomalous, the bench decided on corrective measures.

Based on the deletion of 12 out of 200 questions, the original cut-off marks of 120 for the general category and 110 for the reserved category were brought down to 112.8 and 103.4 respectively.

Furthermore, the bench ordered a re-evaluation of all the answer scripts , after which those meeting the new cut-off marks would qualify for the main exams.Those not meeting the cut-off, but having qualified previously on the basis of the 23 December short-list, would also be conditionally eligible to sit for the main exam.

Additionally, to provide for the re-evaluation and reprocessing of results, the date for the main exams was postponed to 26 May 2012.

The petitioners had also raised the issue of excessive length of the question paper, which consisted of 200 questions in a total duration of 2 hours and 30 minutes, leaving not more than 45 seconds to read, understand and answer each multiple choice question.

The Delhi High Court, however, did not adjudicate on this contention, stating that the position was the same for all examinees and did not throw up any relative prejudice. But it did advise the registrar general to avoid such practice in future examinations.

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