New Delhi: In a ruling
that would impact thousands of students, the Supreme Court has
held that there can be no rounding-off of the percentage of marks
to the next digit for making a candidate eligible for admission to
a course when eligibility criteria are clearly mentioned.
"When eligibility criteria are prescribed in a qualifying
examination, it must be strictly adhered to," the apex court bench
of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai said in
a recent judgment.
"Any dilution or tampering with it will work injustice on other
candidates" and "such rounding-off is impermissible", said Justice
Ranjana Prakash Desai who authored the judgment.
The apex court's judgment came while answering the question of law
of whether a relaxation was possible through the application of
the principle of rounding off in the eligibility criteria
prescribed for admission, in a case related to a post-graduate
The court said: "No provision of any statute or any rules framed
hereunder has been shown to us, which permits rounding-off of
eligibility criteria prescribed for the qualifying examination for
admission to the PG course in M.SC (Nursing)."
The court sought strict adherence to the eligibility criteria
while disposing of an appeal by Bangalore-based Rajiv Gandhi
University of Health Sciences, challenging the Oct 28, 2010,
judgment of the division bench of the Karnataka High Court
declining to entertain a plea against the single-judge order
upholding rounding-off of the percentage of marks obtained by one
G. Hemlatha so as to make her eligible for admission to the
post-graduate nursing course.
"The Division Bench of the High Court erred in holding that the
learned single judge was right in rounding off 54.71 percent to 55
percent, so as to make respondent 1 (Hemlatha) eligible for
admission to the PG course. Such rounding off is impermissible,"
the apex court said.
Hemlatha completed the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing with
54.71 percent aggregate marks from N.T.R. University of Health
Sciences in the year 1997, and was appointed staff nurse at the
Primary Health Centre, Nagasamudram (Andhra Pradesh) from July 8,
After working for eight years and three months, she decided to
pursue post-graduate studies.
The eligibility criteria prescribed by the Indian Nursing Council
(INC) for securing admission to the post-graduate course was 55
percent aggregate marks in B.Sc. Hemlatha had secured 54.71
percent aggregate marks.
Hemlatha made a representation to INC which said that 0.50 percent
would normally be rounded-off to the next digit.
On the strength of this certificate, she got admission to the
post-graduate course. However, when she was to undertake the M.Sc
previous examination, she was told by the university that she was
Hemlatha impugned this order holding her ineligible before the
single judge of the Karnataka High Court. An interim order
permitted her to appear in the examination.
On the strength of another court's order, she appeared in the M.Sc
When Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences moved the Supreme
Court challenging the division bench order, the apex court
directed the declaration of her result and regularisation of her
However, the court had said that it would decide the question of
law of whether rounding of percentage of marks to next digit could
be done to facilitate admission in the course of time.