1. The applicant is working as Extra Departmental Assistant (EDA) in the Department of Posts. The promotion from that is to the post of Postman/Mail Guard. There are two methods for this purpose; one, on the basis of seniority and the other through Limited Departmental Competitive Examination (LDCE). The LDCE was held on 30.10.2016. The applicant and private respondents appeared in the said examination. The name of the applicant did not figure in the list of selected candidates. In November, 2016, the applicant submitted an application under Right of Information Act, 2005 to the concerned authority with a request to furnish various details, such as, OMR answer script, certified copy of the answer key, vacancy position of Guwahati Division and copy of merit list. Those details were furnished to the applicant on 23.12.2016. Thereupon, the applicant submitted a representation dated 31.12.2016 with a request to include his name in the list of qualified candidates. The same was replied on 12.01.2017 by the respondents, stating that the revaluation of answer scripts is not permissible in view of item 15 of Appendix 37 of Postal Manual Volume IV and his request cannot be acceded to.
This O.A. is filed challenging the said communication. The further prayer is to direct the respondents to prepare a correct model answer key and thereafter to re-evaluate the answer scripts of all candidates pertaining Guwahati Division, based on the correct answer key and thereafter to prepare a fresh merit list for promotion to the cadre of Postman/Mail Guard.
2. The respondents filed separate counter affidavits. It is stated that the LDCE was conducted on 30.10.2016 and the applicant came with a request long thereafter. It is stated that the applicant did not raise any such objection soon after appearing in the examination and short-listing, hence it is not possible to accede to the request of the applicant.
3. The O.A. was heard by a Divisional Bench of this Tribunal on 06.05.2019. The Hon’ble Members differed with each other. While Hon’ble Judicial Member allowed the O.A. by directing the respondents to correct the model answer key to the questions mentioned by the applicant and thereafter to re-evaluate the answer scripts of all candidates, including the applicant pertaining to the Guwahati Division of postal department, the Hon’ble Administrative Member held that such a course is not permissible in law and accordingly, directed dismissal of the O.A.
4. Accordingly, the matter is referred to a 3rd Member and it is heard today in detail I heard the arguments of Mr. U.K. Nair, learned senior counsel for applicant and Mr. D.D. Roy, learned counsel for respondents.
5. The issue pertains to the selection of candidates through LDCE for promotion to the post of Postman/Mail Guard. The examination for this purpose was conducted on 30.10.2016. It was a multiple choice based question and through OMR sheets, and the results were declared on 07.11.2016. About two weeks thereafter, the applicant filed an application under Right to Information Act to the respondents. He did not make the same available. However, in reply thereto, the respondents furnished the list of selected candidates, merit position, list of various categories, the question paper and answer key. After getting the answer key examined, the applicant submitted a representation to the Chief Postmaster General (Staff), Guwahati with the following prayer:
“Therefore, you are requested kindly to consider my prayer to enlist me in the list of qualified candidates and render natural justice to me since the answers which I have attempted are treated as correct universally”.
6. It is to be noted that neither there was any prayer for correction of the answer key, nor was there any request for re-evaluation in this representation. The respondents replied to the applicant as under:-
“Please refer to your representation dated 30-12-2016 regarding the subject cited above. It is intimate that as per item 15 of Appendix 37 of Postal Manual Volume IV, revaluation of answer scripts is not permissible in any case or under any circumstances.
Therefore, your request for review of answer scripts of Postman/Mail Guard examination held on 30-10-2016 can not be entertained”.
7. The applicant thereafter claims to have filed representation dated 25.01.2017, with a request to undertake revaluation of answer scripts on the basis of correct answer. Firstly, there is nothing to disclose that such representation was filed and; secondly even if the representation can be taken to have been filed, what was prayed therein is only, the revaluation, that too, answer scripts of the applicant. When the complaint is about inaccuracy of answers to as many as five questions, such a half-hearted and limited prayer does not suffice.
8. The Hon’ble Supreme Court and High Courts have been cautioning that the Courts/Tribunal cannot sit as experts in the matters of this nature and it is to be left to the concerned institutions. In the representation made by the applicant, except stating that there is possibility of other answers being correct, he did not substantiate the same. The very purpose of conducting the examination through multiple choices is to create a semblance of confusion in the minds of the candidates and to verify their definite and clear knowledge on the subject. If objection is raised at the right earnest, the Tribunal can also direct the experts to render the opinion on that. By the time the applicant has taken tangible steps in that behalf, the selections were complete and the orders of promotion were issued.
9. The very foundation for the O.A. laid by the applicant be it in the form of initial representation dated 30.12.2016, or the one said to have been submitted later on, is very shaky and in none of them, there was any prayer for declaring the answer keys for 5 questions, referred to by him, as incorrect or to undertake any revaluation of the answer scripts of all the candidates. The mere revaluation of the answer scripts of the applicant by proceeding on the premise that the answer chosen by him are correct, would neglect the very process of conducting examination.
10. Reliance is placed on the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Rajesh Kumar & others v. State
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of Bihar & others, (2013) 4 SCC 690. That was a case in which the petitioners before the High Court have laid strong foundation, and at their instance, the question paper was referred to experts. It emerged that out of 100 questions, only 41 answers were found to be correct. Starting from that foundation, the remedial steps were taken and ultimately, the Hon’ble Supreme Court upheld the decision of the High Court. In the instant case, the very foundation laid by the applicant is shaky, and it is very difficult to accede to his prayer. 11. I agree with the view taken by the Hon’ble Administrative Member. Accordingly, the O.A. stands dismissed. There shall be no order as to costs.