S.H. Sheth, J.
1. The petitioner is a minor. He appeared at the Higher Secondary Examination held by the Gujarat Secondary Education Board (hereinafter referred to as the Board for the sake of brevity). This petition has been filed by him in which he challenges refusal of the Board to reassess his answer books in Mathematics Papers I and II and Biology (Theory). It is necessary to point out in the beginning that though the petitioner is a minor, he has not filed this petition through his next friend but has only shown the name of his father in the petition as 'C/o. R.H. Dave. 'In our opinion this is not enough. The petitioner ought to have filed this petition through his father showing him as his next friend. Mr. Tanna, appearing for the petitioner requests us to permit him to amend the cause title of the petition. We see no reason why his request should be turned down. Accordingly we grant it. It may be stated that the petitioner's father has sworn in the petition. The defect which we have pointed out, therefore, appears to be technical.
2. The first contention which Mr. Tanna has raised is that the petitioner and his father who is a professor in Mathematics believe that the petitioner's answer books in Mathematics papers I and II and Biology (Theory) have been under-valued. In that behalf he has firstly argued before us that Mathematics and Biology are objective papers and that the assessment depends more upon the statement of objective facts in the answers than on the descriptive answers. We assume that it is so. Firstly, the petitioner has not been able to make out a prima facie case showing that his papers have been under-valued. The petitioner himself could not have formed a subjective opinion about his own performance as if he was an examiner and could not have come to the conclusion that his papers were under-valued. If such an opinion is permitted to canvassed every student will state that in his opinion his answer books have been under-valued and that they should be reassessed. We may state that more than one lakh of students appear at the Higher Secondary Examination in this State every year. Since an examinee cannot be an examiner of his own answer his own subjective opinion, however intelligent he may be, is irrelevant in law for the purpose of finding out whether there is a prima facie case for the revaluation of his answer books. So far as his father's opinion is concerned it is an interested opinion. Every father is generally interested in the welfare of his child. He might have taught the petitioner Mathematics and Biology at home and might have reasonably felt that the petitioner would fare very well at the examination but what is good at home is not necessarily good in an examination hall. Therefore, performance shown by a student at home cannot in law be made the subject-matter of a prima facie opinion as regards his performance in the examination hall. In the instant case, the father himself who is deeply interested in the welfare on his son has formed an opinion on the strength of his son's performance at home.
3. The petitioner has not alleged mala fides against his examiners, moderators or the Secondary Education Board. If mala fides or a malpractice were alleged against any of them, certainly this Court would have been within its bounds to examine his case on merits. We are, therefore, of the opinion that unless mala fides or malpractice is alleged against the examiners, moderators or the Board, this Court should not interfere with the evaluation of the answer books of a student who has appeared at the examination.
4. Mr. Tanna has argued that both reverification as well as reassessment is a right which every student must have. He has tried to point out before us that an examiner assesses the answer books and thereafter the moderators moderates them. He has further tried to point out that a moderator does not moderate every answer book. There does not appear to be any dispute about this fact. Now, every examiner on the first day is asked to assess only five answer books which are moderated by the moderator. Next day and thereafter he is asked to assess more answer books. From the answer books which he assesses on the next and subsequent days, the moderator picks up some answer books and tries to find out whether the examiner has assessed the answer books properly. According to Mr. Tanna this is an arbitrary method and therefore it is violative of Article 14. We do not think so. Moderation is moderation and cannot be a second reassessment. The object of moderating the answer books is to find out whether an examiner has applied the appropriate standard is assessing the answer books. On the first day the moderator moderates all the five answer books which an examiner has assessed and finds whether he has applied appropriate standard is assessing the answer books. If an examiner has not applied appropriate standard, the moderator gives him necessary instructions so that he comes up to the standard expected of him. Thereafter on the next and subsequent days he picks up certain answer books in order to satisfy himself whether the examiner has applied the standard which was suggested to him. If he is satisfied that he has applied the appropriate standard in examining the answer books it is not necessary for him to moderate every answer book. If the moderator comes to the conclusion that a particular examiner has not applied appropriate standard in assessing the answer books even after he was instructed to do so, it would be open to him to moderate all the answer books. Therefore, whether he should moderate all the answer books or a few of them depends upon the approach which an examiner makes in assessing answer books, more particularly upon the application of or failure to apply appropriate standard in assessing the answer books. We are, there fore, unable to come to the conclusion that this is an arbitrary method.
5. So far as reassessment is concerned, the rules made by the Board do not permit any revaluation. Indeed there is no express prohibition against revaluation. Gujarat Secondary Education Board which is a statutory Board holds an examination in accordance with law under which it functions. The examination is the creature of that law. The examination is therefore held and results are declared in accordance with the conditions laid down under the law. If such a law provides only for retotalling of marks or reverification and does not permit reassessment, it cannot be said that such a law is bad. To say that every student must have a right of assessment is going too far in interfering with the working of the autonomous bodies operating in such fields.
6. Mr. Tanna has cited before us two unreported decisions of the High Court at Bombay in (1) Writ Petition Nos. 1906/80 and others decided by a Division Bench of that Court on 28-7-1980 and (2) Writ Petition No. 1909/80 and others decided on 28/29th July 1980. The High Court at Bombay appears to have taken a contrary view of the matter. We may, however, add that the relevant rule which operates in the State of Maharashtra expressly prohibits reassessment. There is no express prohibition against reassessment in our case. However, for the purpose of this petition, express prohibition is equivalent to failure to provides for reassessment. We are of the opinion that as reassessment is not provided by the rules, the Secondary Education Board cannot be compelled to reassess the answer books of the petitioner. We regret our inability to concur in the view which the Court at Bombay appears to have taken in those two decisions.
7. We are of the opinion that in the working of autonomous bodies operating in specialised fields, the High Court at Bombay has gone too far. We think that a Court of law should not stretch its long arms to interfere with the working of such autonomous bodies unless the petitioner makes out a case of mala fides or a malpractice against anyone or more of them. We would like to set limit to our jurisdiction in such cases and confine it to a mala fide action or a malpractice affecting a student. To extend our jurisdiction beyond it is to take an impractical and inexpedient view. It is difficult to assume an honest mistake as the High Court at Bombay has done and to proceed to build thereon the structure or edifice of our constitutional jurisdiction. If we fall a prey to the temptation of extending our jurisdiction far too wide without setting well defined limits to it, we shall be facing a very sad day, nay, we have started facing it. If out of a lakh of students who annually appear at the Higher Secondary examination only five thousand apply for reassessment and approach this Court, on refusal to grant reassessment, without a solemnly affirmed statement that he believes that assessment of his answer books to be an under-assessment, shall we transform ourselves into examiners or shall we appoint an army of fresh examiners for reassessing the allegedly under valued answer books? If this flood gate is opened, shall we be able to withstand the gushing waters or shall the judiciary be irretrievably sub merged and buried by them in a watery grave? It is necessary to remember that we do not have an annual fair of only one examination. More than a dozen such examinations are held every year by each of such Boards and each of more than one hundred Universities in the country and at such examinations not less than a million students appear every year. Rights thrive in a democracy as they ought to but mushrooms must be sternly weeded out.
8. Judiciary which is otherwise under a very heavy strain must discipline itself unless the last ray of hope which a common man has in this country is driven to be extinguished. Since there is no allegation of mala fides, or malpractice in, this case we see no reason to interfere with the refusal of the Board to reassess the petitioner's answer books in Mathematics papers 1 and II and Biology (Theory). We therefore dismiss this petition.)