By Our Correspondent
NEW DELHI : On June 12 the vacation bench of Supreme
overturned an Allahabad High Court judgement and
said that the courts cannot take upon itself the task of
verifying answers in an examination under the exercise
of judicial review.
The bench set aside the
Allahabad high court's March 30 order by which it had
directed for re-evaluation of answer sheets of the
preliminary examination for upper-subordinate services
in Uttar Pradesh.
Unless there is doubt
about the answers, the judiciary cannot intervene,
otherwise, it would open a floodgate, the bench said.
The court said it can examine the matter only to the
extent that the examination process was fair.
The vacation bench of
Justices U U Lalit and Deepak Gupta made these
observations while reserving its
on a batch of petitions by candidates challenging the
correctness of answer keys to preliminary examinations
conducted by the Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission
(UPPSC) in 2017 for various posts in provincial civil
"When there are
conflicting views, then the court must bow down to the
opinion of the experts. Judges are not and cannot be
experts in all fields and, therefore, they must exercise
great restraint and should not overstep their
jurisdiction to upset the opinion of the experts," the
bench said while dismissing a batch of petitions of
students seeking stay of the mains examination.
A group of candidates led
by Rahul Singh questioned the move by the UPPSC to
declare the schedule for conducting Main examination
from June 18. The petitioner-candidates sought
modification of the top court's stay order on May 18
against the Allahabad High Court's direction to the
UPPSC to re-draw the rank list of the successful
candidates of preliminary examinations after finding
that the answer keys of some questions were wrong.
Pleading UPPSC case the
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh said that
about 16,000 candidates were declared successful in
preliminary examinations after a 26-member experts panel
reviewed the answer keys. He said the main examinations
has already been delayed. The judicial review must come
to end somewhere, otherwise, the whole yearly schedule
would go haywire.
Referring to a 1983 verdict, it said the court had
recommended a system of moderation, avoiding ambiguity
in the questions and prompt decisions be taken to
exclude suspected questions and no marks be assigned to
It noted that UPPSC even before publishing the first
list of answer keys got it moderated by two expert
committees and invited objections, which were also
examined by a 26-member expert committee.
It said that the 26-member expert committee after
examining the objections had recommended that five
questions needs to be deleted and in two questions, key
answers should be changed.
The court said that all the questions needed a long
process of reasoning and the high court itself has
noticed that the stand of the commission is also
supported by certain text books.
"In view of the above discussion we are clearly of the
view that the high court over stepped its jurisdiction
by giving the directions, which amounted to setting
aside the decision of experts in the field," it said,
setting aside the order of the high court.
On June 12, the apex court had said the sanctity of an
examination would be lost if courts through their power
of judicial review keep interfering with the decisions
taken by authorities conducting competitive tests.
The top court said a line needs to be drawn to
determine to what extent a judicial review can be
allowed of the decisions taken by authorities conducting
Delhi varsity photocopy kiosk wins copyright
NEW DELHI : In a startling case a single-judge
bench of the Delhi High Court has dismissed copyright
suits by three international publishers against the sale
of photocopied books and pages in Delhi University.
judgement delivered on
September 16 by a bench of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw
upheld the Delhi University contention that the use of
reproduced copyrighted books by students was a
"reasonable educational need".
Justice Endlaw also lifted a ban on the photocopier
kiosk from issuing copies of chapters from textbooks of
the three publishers to students.
The kiosk, Rameshwari
Photocopy Service near Delhi School of Economics (DSE)
in north campus, pleaded that since the university
library does not have the required number of books on
the subjects as stipulated by the university syllabi,
the students get the photocopies done for study and
reference and that he was only helping the students tide
over their problem. He said he takes a nominal charge
from the students as directed by the DSE.
In November 2012, the court had
prohibited Rameshwari Photocopy Service on a petition moved by
publishers including University Press, Cambridge
University Press and Taylor & Francis.
The publishers had alleged that
the kiosk was violating their copyright and “at the
instance of Delhi University” was causing huge financial
losses as students stopped buying their text books.
But Delhi University, defendant number 2 in the
case, supported the photocopiers,
saying the use of reproduced copyrighted books by
students was a “reasonable educational need” and should
not be treated as infringement.
The university pleaded
that "world over Universities permit students to
copy limited pages from any work for use in research and
for use in the classroom by a student or teacher and
this is recognised by Sections 52 (1)(a) & (i) of the
The university pleaded
that "the facility of photocopying limited portions of
books for educational and research purposes could have
been provided within the library if the University had
adequate space, resources and manpower at its disposal."
It said that it "has
granted the facility of photocopying to defendant No.1 (Rameshwari Photocopy Service)
keeping the interest of the students in mind."
Reacting to the
judgement, most Intellectual property right experts hailed the verdict.
“Copyright laws are meant to balance public and private
interests but in recent years, the public interest has
been eroded due to lobbying. The HC has restored that
balance,” said an expert.
“The court has actually said that copyright is not
divine and that education is an important social need.
This is a huge moment,” he added.
Students hail decision
The decision was hailed by the students, teachers
and photocopy shop owners in Delhi University.
Students can now photocopy study material from books
published by international publishing giants. Overjoyed,
they said the decision was ‘historic’, because it was
about the larger right to access resource material for
education, which was upheld by the court.
Dharmpal Singh, owner of the photocopy shop, said
although he was yet to read the order, this meant a huge
victory for the students. “Most of the books are not
available in the country and those which do, cost any
where from Rs 3,000 to 8,000 and above. It is just not
possible for students to buy these books. This made them
buy locally sourced books, most which were not up to the
mark,” he said.
Singh has been running the kiosk for 20 years.
Students enrolled in the Masters and PhD courses, in
particular, were the worse-affected by the ban.
“While there is a batch of 80-100 students in each
course, the university library has only a single copy of
the book. In this case, photocopying remained the only
option,” said Apoorva Gautum, president, Association of
Students for Equitable Access to Knowledge.
The association was formed soon after the ban was
imposed in 2012 and became a party to the case. It
includes around 200 students.