Violation of Exam Guidelines: HC directs RGUHS to blacklist delinquent examiners
Bengaluru: Strongly objecting to the continuous violation of University guidelines while conducting exams, the Karnataka High Court recently directed the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) to "wake up" and initiate action against "delinquent examiners".
Instructing the University to take precautionary measures and blacklist faulty examiners, the HC bench comprising of Justice P Krishna Bhat noted, "It is now time that the respondent-University wakes up to reality and proceeds to take action against delinquent examiners by blacklisting them, or by holding departmental proceedings so that this kind of malpractices do not recur. Future conduct of examination is concerned, the respondent-University shall take precautionary measures and ensure that malpractices do not take place causing the students to take examination over and over. It is open to the respondent-University to device procedural safeguards to ensure compliance of the directions in this order."
The HC bench made such observations while dealing with the plea by a few 4th-year MBBS students who had taken supplementary examinations for four subjects each in October 2021 held by RGUHS. Part of the examinations that the petitioners were required to take in fulfillment of Phase III- part II (4th year) MBBS is the clinical/practical examinations.
The grievance of the petitioners was that on account of examiners appointed by RGUHS acting in violation of the Guidelines for the Conduct of Clinical Examinations for MBBS examinations- October 2020, the petitioners were shown as failed in the exam and on the account of the same, they were made to take examinations as repeaters.
Claiming it to be illegal, the petitioner students referred to the relevant portions of the Guidelines and argued that as per the Guidelines, each of the four examiners holding the Clinical examinations were required to make an entry of the marks awarded by them in the answer booklet furnished to them.
The learned counsel for the petitioners contended that in regard to assessment made by each of the examiners in the practical answer booklet against against Sl. Nos. of each of the examiners entry of appraisal of the performance of the candidates should be made both in figures and in words for particular case.
In respect of one petitioner, certain figures are entered in the practical answer booklet. Reading of the entries showed that entries with reference to the marks awarded were the total number of marks to the Long case and not the entries of marks awarded by each of the examiners.
Claiming it to be in violation of the requirements made under the guidelines, the counsel pointed out that each of them has to enter the marks that he or she has awarded separately and the total marks should be arrived by taking average of the marks so awarded by each of them. However, with regard to both the petitioners, practical answer booklets were left blank.
Taking note of all these factors, the bench then noted, "Guidelines issued are a procedural framework provided by the respondent-University for the purpose of assessing the performance of the candidates and in this case, examiners have demonstrably failed to abide by the said procedure."
"These guidelines are not mere superfluous verbiage for filling the pages of a Brochure of the University. It is a framework of solemn significance with regard to conduct of Clinical examinations in fulfilment of the course content of MBBS studies," added the bench.
Further referring to the malpractices in the examinations, the bench remarked, "It is not unoften that students of MBBS and MD courses complain about the malpractices by those in-charge of conduct of Clinical examinations. One of the most frequently heard complaints is that the Professors in-charge of the Clinicals often form a narrow syndicate for helping or salvaging the careers of favoured candidates and scuttling the careers of those who are out of favour with them. It is precisely to keep the streams of Clinicals examination unpolluted, the guidelines have been framed to make the entries of marks awarded by each of the examiners then and there separately."
Referring to the observation made by Mr. Justice Frankfurter in Viteralli v. Seton, the bench noted, "Therefore, University "must be rigorously held to the standards by which it professes its actions to be judged and it must scrupulously observe those Standards on pain of invalidation of an act in violation of them."
Referring to the facts of the case, the bench noted, "Since the assessment, as per the practical answer booklet, is not made in accordance with the procedural guidelines as contended by the learned counsel for the petitioners in these cases, it is open to be contended that the examiners did not actually assess the performance of the petitioners and the same was filled up later by someone else."
Opining it to be unjust on the part of the University to treat the petitioners as repeaters even though they appeared in examinations held for October-2021, the bench in a relief to the students, noted, "therefore, they should be permitted to take up the examinations again and result shall not be taken as that of repeaters. In other words, it is required to be treated by the respondent-University as a result of examinations of October-2021."
Allowing the petitions, the bench directed the University to "hold fresh practical examinations for failed subjects of Surgery and Pediatrics respectively for the petitioners within three weeks' from the date of receipt of a certified copy of this order."
However, apart from providing relief to the candidates, the bench also stressed upon the violations of University guidelines in clinical examinations and noted, "Before parting with this case, it is necessary to observe that examiners appointed by the respondent university seem to be routinely violating the guidelines issued by the University for holding the Clinicals examination."
Finally, the bench referred to the order in Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences v. Mr. Ramegowda Y. and Others, where similar malpractices came to be observed.
At this outset, the bench noted, "It is now time that the respondent-University wakes up to reality and proceeds to take action against delinquent examiners by blacklisting them, or by holding departmental proceedings so that this kind of malpractices do not recur. Future conduct of examination is concerned, the respondent-University shall take precautionary measures and ensure that malpractices do not take place causing the students to take examination over and over. It is open to the respondent-University to device procedural safeguards to ensure compliance of the directions in this order."
To read the court order, click on the link below.
Barsha completed her Master's in English from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.