The Kerala High Court on Monday quashed the UGC decision of increasing the qualification marks for the National Eligibility Test. “Fixing of higher qualification marks as 65, 60 and 55 per cent respectively for general, OBC and SC/ST categories, that too just before the publication of the result, cannot be justified and it is not supported by law,” the court held.
Justice T R Ramachandran Nair issued the order while considering a batch of 2000-odd petitions challenging the UGC decision. The court declared that all the petitioners who have secured the separate minimum prescribed in the notification have cleared the NET and asked the UGC to issue certificates to them within a month.
Kaleeswaram Raj, counsel for some of the petitioners, submitted that UGC had no authority to make any change in the aggregate minimum for a pass in the test. It was the moderation committee appointed by the UGC, consisting of senior academicians, which had recommended the qualifying criteria, so that it is illegal, the petitioners said.
The UGC submitted that the qualifying criteria was posted on its web site on declaring the examination results.
It had been clearly stated in the original notification that candidates should obtain minimum required marks in each paper. It had also been said that the qualifying criteria for Junior Research Fellowship and eligibility for lectureship would be decided by UGC before the declaration of results.
However, the court pointed out that the candidates were never told about raising the aggregate mark.
“Adoption of such a standard at the final stage affected the expectations of large number of candidates adversely. Even if the UGC has the power to fix a standard, it ought to have been exercised in a proper and fair manner,” the High Court said.