In the instant case, the petitioners were candidates in the Bihar Elementary Teachers Eligibility Test 2017 who had used whitener on their OMR sheets despite clear instructions that they cannot use whiteners on their OMR sheets. Due to their use of whitener, their results were invalidated even though the computer duly evaluated the OMR sheets.
Contentions of the Petitioners:
Learned Counsel for the petitioners argued that use of whitener, eraser etc. was not allowed as the computer might not be able to read it, but in the instant case, the computer was able to read the OMR sheets so the authority should declare the result.
It was further argued that it was just an eligibility exam which is supposed to be held every year but is actually held once in every 4-5 years and if the result of the petitioners was not declared then they will cross the age limit for taking the exam.
Observation of the Court:-
Hon’ble Justice Lalit observed that it was possible that even after the exam, correct answers could be inserted by using whiteners or erasers.
The Court clarified that the purpose of the rule was to ensure fairness and transparency, and once the rules had forbidden the use of whiteners, the petitioners should not have used the whiteners.
Hon’ble Justice Bhat, who was also part of the Bench, remarked that in India, people who comply with the rules are punished, and those who don’t comply will always have arguments.
A reference was also made to Column 4 of Advertisement No.63 of 2017 dated 13/07/2017, and it was held that the instructions(not to use eraser or whitener on the OMR sheets) mentioned therein were unambiguous.
Hon’ble Supreme Court held that even though the OMR sheets were evaluated by the computer, that itself will not render the clause of rejecting the result to be nugatory or invalidated.
Accordingly, the appeals were dismissed by the Apex Court.