ILNS: The Supreme Court has directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to take immediate steps to amend its relevant bye-laws so as to incorporate the mechanism given by the court itself for recording correction or change, as the case may be, in the certificates already issued or to be issued by it.
The bench of Justices A.M Khanwilkar, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari has heard this appeal and passed a detailed order on the issue of making correction and change in the name, either of the candidate or his/her parents in the school certificate issued by CBSE.
The present case involves a batch of 22 petitions wherein questions relating to correction/change in name/surname/date of birth of candidates or their parents in the certificates issued by the board have been raised.
One of the appeal is filed by the appellant Jigya Yadav, a minor, challenging the order passed by the Delhi High Court dated December 20, 2010 in a civil appeal challenging the constitutionality and legality of bye-law 69.1(i) of Central Board of Secondary Education Examination bye-laws, primarily on the ground that it does not permit any correction in name, either of the candidate or his/her parents in the school certificate unless such correction/alteration matches with the school records.
Bye-law 69.1(i) of CBSE Examination says-
“69.1 Changes and Corrections in Name
(i) No change in name/surname once recorded in the Board’s records shall be made. However, correction in the name to the extent of correction in spelling errors, factual typographical errors in candidate’s name/surname, father’s name/mother’s name or guardian’s name to make it consistent with what is given in the school record or list of candidates (LOC) submitted by the school may be made.
Provided further that in no case, correction shall include alteration, addition, deletion to make it different (except as mentioned above) from the LOC or the school records.
(ii) Application for correction in name/surname will be considered only within ten years of the date of declaration of result provided the application of the candidate is forwarded with the following documents:
(a) Admission form(s) filled in by the parents at the time of admission.
(b) The School Leaving Certificate of the previous school submitted by the parents of the candidate at the time of admission.
(c) Portion of the page of admission and withdrawal register of the school where the entry has been made in respect of the candidate.
(iii) The Board may effect necessary corrections after verification of the Original records of the school and on payment of the prescribed fee.”
The appellant’s case was that the name of her parents was incorrectly recorded as Hari Singh Yadav instead of Hari Singh (as recorded in the identity documents of father) and Mamta Yadav instead of Mamta (as recorded in the identity documents of mother).
The Delhi High Court had dismissed the plea of Jigya and denied to pass any direction to CBSE to correct the Petitioner’s name in her Class X statement of Marks/Certificate with a reasoning that, “the Court should be extremely reluctant to substitute its own views as to what is wise, prudent and proper in relation to academic matters in preference to those formulated by professional men possessing technical expertise and rich experience of actual day-to-day working of educational institutions and the departments controlling them. It will be wholly wrong for the Court to take a pedantic and purely idealistic approach to the problems of this nature, isolated from the actual realities and grass root problems involved in the working of the system and unmindful of the consequences which would emanate if a purely idealistic view as opposed to a pragmatic one were to be propounded. It is equally important that the Court should also, as far as possible, avoid any decision or interpretation of a statutory provision, rule or bye-law which would bring about the result of rendering the system unworkable in practice – as contended by the respondent no. 1 in its counter affidavit.”
Aggrieved by the order passed by the Delhi High Court the appellant moved to the apex court. The CBSE Examination bye-laws restrict, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the corrections/changes that can be carried out in the certificates issued by the board. Various students with need based requests approached different high courts resulting into inconsistent outcomes leading up to this batch of appeals.
The counsel for the appellant in his written submissions, urged that CBSE certificates are public records of the board and they carry a presumption of genuineness which must be respected by preserving the accuracy of such certificates. It is further urged that the 2007 Byelaws place school records above public documents which carry presumption of genuineness under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
The appellant has further submitted that by amending Bye-law 69.1 in this manner, CBSE has acted in violation of Regulation 10 and objectives of CBSE by rendering itself incapable of rectifying errors in the certificates and issuing accurate certificates, which is a basic function of the board.
The appellant has also made a plea that the impugned judgment erroneously connects the subject matter of the case with caste based reservations which displays stereotype prejudice of the court towards her cause.
Opposing the above mention contentions, the counsel for respondent has submitted that the board has relied upon bye-law 69.1 to submit that the appellant’s request for rectification was considered and the certificates were found to be matching with the school records and thus, no case for rectification was made out.
It is further argued by the respondent i.e. CBSE that being an autonomous society registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, it has the power to make, amend or delete its Rules, Regulations and bye-laws. Accordingly, bye-law 69.1 was amended as the basic record of a student is kept by the school and the Board has no option but to rely upon the school record.
It is further submitted that the parents of the appellant had ample opportunity to correct the school record and they chose not to do so. In fact, the respondent adds, they repeatedly filled the same particulars of their names in all the school forms from time to time.
After going through all the facts of the various cases and submissions made by the parties, the following broad points emerge for the consideration of the court:
(i) Whether the CBSE Examination Byelaws have the force of law?
(ii) Whether examination byelaws impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of rights under Article 19 of the Constitution including fail the test of rationality for excessively restricting the scope of permissible corrections/changes?
(iii) Whether the Board is obliged to carry out corrections/changes in the certificates issued by it owing to correction/updation of public records/documents which have statutory presumption of genuineness?
(iv) Whether the examination byelaws in force on the date of examination conducted by CBSE or the date of consideration of the application for recording correction/change would be relevant? And, whether the effect of correction or change, as the case may be, will have retrospective effect from the date of issue of the original certificate?
(v) Whether writ of mandamus issued for effecting corrections in CBSE certificates can be in the teeth of explicit provisions in the examination byelaws, without examining validity of the bye-laws?
The Court has given certain guidelines to CBSE regarding nature of correction or change permissible to be carried by the CBSE at the instance of the student including past student.
The Court has clearly held that-
In case of the application for “correction” has been made, “The CBSE may entertain the request for recording change in the certificate issued by it subject to certain reasonable conditions to be fulfilled by the applicant as may be prescribed by the CBSE. The CBSE may also insist for issuing Public Notice and publication in the Official Gazette before recording the change in the fresh certificate to be issued by it. The fresh certificate may contain disclaimer and caption/annotation against the original entry (except in respect of change of name effected in exercise of the right to be forgotten) indicating the date on which change has been recorded and the basis thereof.”
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In case of the application for Change has been made-
“on the basis of new acquired name without any supporting school record or public document, that request may be entertained upon insisting for prior permission/declaration by a Court of law in that regard and publication in the Official Gazette including surrender/return of original certificate (or duplicate original certificate, as the case may be) issued by CBSE and upon payment of prescribed fees.This is so because the CBSE is not required to adjudicate nor has the mechanism to verify the correctness of the claim of the applicant.”
In SLP No 10927/2020, the appeal was filed by CBSE challenging the Delhi High Court judgment which had granted relief to one who has completed her MBBS degree and applied for education in a foreign institution. The appeal originally was filed by Jyoti through her Advocate Dr Pradeep Sharma, in which the Single-Judge of Delhi High Court had granted her relief by directing the CBSE for addition of her surname in CBSE certificate as “Jyoti Dalal” which was later upheld by the Division Bench. Aggrieved by such order the CBSE had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
Read the judgment here;12217_2011_34_1501_28052_Judgement_03-Jun-2021