HC for constituting panel to counsel BOPEE on CET

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed constitution of a committee of experts who would advise the J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examinations (BOPEE) as to how to conduct the Common Entrance Test (CET).
“It is deemed appropriate to direct the Chief Secretary of the state as also chairman BOPEE to constitute a committee of experts in the field who would advise the BOPEE as to how and in which manner the (CET) shall be conducted,” a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Tashi Rabstan said.
The committee, court said, shall further advise whether it would be permissible to have two correct answer keys for one single question and marks given to all the candidates.
The BOPEE shall have to advert its attention to the concerns in order to work out appropriate methodology in feature, the court said.
“BOPEE is entrusted with the most sacred duty to select meritorious candidates to undergo training at professional colleges in the state. In order to accomplish this solemn purpose, the fundamental duty of BOPEE to ensure that persons of highest integrity and unmatched competence are assigned task of setting up of papers,” the bench said.
“The competing students not only burn midnight oil but also keep on toiling day and night to secure berth in profession colleges. Availability of ocean of information at their finger tips and hard work of these students has catapulted them in to a position where from they can raise finger at any wrong answer key set up by the paper setter. The wrong answer key is definitely bound to affect the merit of the competing candidate.”
Utmost care and caution, court said, has to be taken by BOPEE in selecting the paper setter and “consequently by paper setter in formulating the question paper and answers keys.”
The direction and observations were made by the bench while allowing an appeal by CET conducting body against November 29, 2013 order by a court’s single bench directing re-evaluation of Biology and Chemistry papers of last year’s CET by experts of Kashmir University.
The single bench of the court had also asked the experts to see whether some of the questions in the papers were “defective or erroneous.”
However, the BOPEE had challenged the order, claiming that by the directions Board has virtually been directed it to outsource its duties.
Allowing its plea, the division bench said the BOPEE can’t be, in all circumstances, asked to refer the issues raised in respect of answer keys to the experts any time a candidate projects grievance.
“In view of the mandate contained in the MCI Regulations and Judgments of the Supreme Court, a time frame has been fixed for concluding the selection process. In respect of MBBS/BDS courses, September 30 of every year is the last date of making the admissions,” the bench said, emphasizing that the selection process has to be completed in a reasonable timeframe.
“We would like to place our serious concern about the method and manner in which some of the questions after the revelation of the questions and answers keys by the expert committee, two correct answers have been provided and marks to all the candidates have been given in respect of few other questions.”
The candidate, Qazi Basara had challenged the key, pleading that in Biology paper (Series-C), she had correctly answered questions 16, 28, 31, 41, 44, 60 and 70 as per the options given in textbooks but the respondents have applied a wrong key for evaluating her merit.
The candidate had also claimed that she had correctly answered questions 32 and 64 of Chemistry paper (Series-C) according to the textbooks, but the BOPEE had applied a wrong key.
The division bench said the aggrieved candidate was already given credit of 4 marks after the revised key was applied to the questions.