The Madras High Court has annulled a Pondicherry University rule doing away with the award of grace marks to the MBBS students and asked the university to give the relief to nine final year students who had failed in a sole practical examination.
A division bench of justices Huluvadi G Ramesh and S Vimala struck down the new rule, which discontinued the practise of awarding the grace marks from May 2016, terming the same as “arbitrary and discriminatory.”
The bench gave its ruling on an appeal by the students against the February 15 verdict of a single-judge bench, which had turned down their pleas for the grace marks.
The division bench said the decision to “deviate from its earlier practice of granting grace marks up to five is in our view without any basis or reasonableness and therefore discriminatory and arbitrary in nature.”
Accordingly, the bench asked the university’s controller of examinations to revise examination results of the students after awarding the grace marks.
While rejecting the students’ plea for the grace marks, the single-judge bench had upheld the university’s rule, doing away with the practice of awarding grace marks from May 2016.
In their appeals to the division bench against the single-judge bench ruling, the students had submitted that they had joined the MBBS course in 2012 and had appeared for the examinations of four subjects in December 2016. They cleared all subjects, but failed in a practical exam due to shortage of two to eight marks.
They said when they had joined the course, the university regulations provided for the grace marks.
The MCI regulations too, amended up to October 8, 2016, provided for the award of grace marks up to five to a student who failed only in one subject but passed in all others, they said.
The university, however, on June 29, 2016 decided to amend the regulations to the effect that there would be no revaluation and award of the grace marks to theory and practical examinations from May 2016.
Adjudicating the students’ plea, the division bench held that the grant of grace marks was part of the course and various facets leading to the conferment of the degree that were in force at the time of affected students’ admission in 2012.
It must remain the same till the student completed the course in accordance with those very rules, the bench said.
“The law does not permit alteration of the same when the candidate is half way through,” the bench said.
The university has to exercise its vested discretion keeping in view the interest of the student who performed well in all his subjects, but unfortunately in one subject alone was unable to get the pass marks, it said.
( Source – PTI )