The Delhi High Court recently dismissed a petition challenging the results of Chartered Accountants ( CA Exam Final) examination held on November 2017.
In the instant petition, the petitioners, Milind Agarwal and Others contended before the Court that on 17.01.2018 through messages on whatsapp and facebook, they learned that notifications declaring the result of the examination had been circulated by the respondent Institute to the respective Regional Councils, Branches, Centres, its office bearers and members according to which that they had all passed in Group I/II and in the case of petitioner no.23 in both the groups. When they contacted the Institute on receipt of such messages, they were informed that the exam notification being circulated on WhatsApp/facebook showing the petitioners as having passed in their respective groups was correct. According to the petitioners, a copy of the e-mail vide which the respondent-institute had forwarded the result notification to its branches, centres at 6.57 p.m. on 17.01.2018 was also being circulated on the facebook and other social media platform.
They said that from subsequent messages being circulated on facebook, whatsapp and other social media, they have learnt that after the issuance of initial notification dated 17.01.2018, in which they were declared ‘passed’, the Respondent had sent another email at 12:05 A.M. on 18.01.2018 to all its centers and branches, enclosing therewith a revised result termed as ‘correct result notification’. According to the petitioners, as the Respondent uses the system of codification in the examination whereby answer-sheets are given unique codes, the results are first tabulated in the codified format and grace marks, if any, are added thereto for the purpose of moderation in accordance with provision of Regulation 39 (2) of the Chartered Accountants Regulation 1988 (hereinafter referred to as Regulations) and it is only thereafter that the decoding is done and the result connected to a particular student/examinee which is then published in the form of a circular/notification. The Petitioners thus claimed that the result could not have been changed after the de-codification and issuance of notification dated 17.01.2018 which had been duly circulated to all its branches, centres, members and office bearers and that too with an endorsement that the same was for ‘general information’.
Advocate Amit Khemka, the counsel for the petitioners, contended that Regulation 39 is a complete code dealing with the subject ‘Examination of Results’ and the action of changing the result after it had been notified without giving any opportunity of hearing to the Petitioners and without following the procedure prescribed therein, was not only arbitrary, illegal and violative of principles of natural justice but also in breach of the regulations itself.
While dismissing the petition, Justice Rekha Palli observed that there is no denial by any of the parties that the result declared on the websites of the respondent-institute has never been altered, which is not even the case of the petitioners. “Thus, the only case set up by the petitioners is that a notification was purportedly issued by the institute and sent to all its councils, centres, members/office bearers as per which the petitioners had allegedly passed. It is however, interesting to note that even though the entire case of the petitioners is based on the said alleged notification, in which they claimed to have passed, the petitioners have very conveniently and for obvious reasons stated in the petition itself that they were not sure about the authenticity and correctness of the e-mails or of the messages being circulated on the whatsapp and facebook.”
The Court further observed that merely because the alleged notification contains the term ‘published for general information’ cannot lead to the conclusion that the said notification was actually published especially in view of the categoric statement by the respondent-institute that the said alleged notification was never published in any manner. “It may be pertinent to note that even the learned counsel for the petitioners is unable to demonstrate the manner in which the said alleged notification was published except for reiterating that the same circulated on whatsapp/ facebook.”
“The prescription of a fixed criterion for carrying out moderation would in fact be counterproductive to the very purpose of carrying out moderation and therefore, in my considered view, a certain amount of discretion has to be given to the Institute to apply suitable criteria for carrying out moderation in every exam. Before I conclude, I must express my anguish at the manner in which the whatsapp and facebook posts are being circulated without any sense of responsibility. No doubt, the hopes of some students have been shattered, but unfortunately for them while the Court can only express its concern over the manner in which communications are circulated on whatsapp/facebook without any authenticity of the source thereof, the legal position does not in any manner support the petitioners who were, admittedly, found unsuccessful as per the official results declared by the respondent,” the Court said.