The Delhi High Court has observed that if the stipulated procedure for re-evaluation of a marksheet envisaged in a university's Student Handbook is not followed, the Court cannot direct a re-evaluation.

In that context, the Bench of Justice C Hari Shankar observed that, "there is a stipulated procedure for re-evaluation envisaged in the Student Handbook. Where there is a stipulated procedure for re-evaluation and that procedure is not followed, the Court cannot direct re-evaluation of the marksheet. No doubt, if the petitioner would have followed the procedure prescribed for re-evaluation and the respondent, nonetheless, did not re-evaluate her grades, the Court would be well within its jurisdiction to direct reevaluation. In the present case, however, the petitioner did not follow the procedure envisaged in the Student Handbook for re-evaluation of her grade-sheet."

Counsel Rajnish Kumar Jha and Counsel Faiyazul Haque appeared for the petitioner. Counsel Anju Bhushan Gupta and Counsel Aditya Goel appeared for the respondent.

The petitioner completed her B.A. (Hons.) Geography degree from Kamala Nehru College, University of Delhi, in 2015. Subsequently, in August 2016, she enrolled in the M.Sc. (Geoinformatics) program at the TERI School of Advanced Studies (TSAS).

The TSAS provided a Student Handbook outlining the evaluation criteria, including grading and performance assessment. The handbook stated that a minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 6.0 was required for the M.Sc. (Geoinformatics) degree.

Upon completing the fourth semester, the petitioner received a grade sheet indicating a CGPA of 5.88, falling below the required minimum. Dissatisfied, she requested a reevaluation, but the TSAS denied the option.

In response, the TSAS issued a letter in July 2018, informing the petitioner of her CGPA and the failure to meet the minimum requirement for the degree. The letter offered two options: discontinuing the program without a degree or registering for Semester V to undertake another major project.

The Student Handbook outlined a formal process for grade review, involving discussions with faculty, application to the Dean (Academic), and a possible review by the Master's Programme Executive Committee (MPEC). The petitioner could have sought a review through informal and formal processes outlined in the Student Handbook. There was no record of her approaching the Dean (Academic) for re-evaluation. Instead, she submitted a representation to the UGC, triggering the Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC), which thoroughly examined the case.

The petitioner filed a writ petition, challenging the TSAS decision and seeking relief.

The Court observed that if it ordered for a re-evaluation even when the petitioner did not follow the procedure envisaged in the handbook, "it would set a precedent for every student, in every case, to seek a direction for re-evaluation from the Court, even though there is a stipulated procedure for re-evaluation, which the student had not followed."

Accordingly, the petition was dismissed.

Cause Title: Momisha vs University Grants Commission

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