Supreme Court Directs CBSE to Amend its Byelaws for Facilitating Changes in Student Certificates
03rd June 2021, the Apex Court in Jigya Yadav vs. C.B.S.E. [CA 3905 OF 2011] the bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, BR Gavai and Krishna Murari observed that student certificates are public records and directed the CBSE to amend bylaws and set in place a mechanism for incorporating changes to it.
The Apex Court taking into consideration the evidential value of the certificate under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Court held that in view of the same:
“…the CBSE may entertain the request for recording change in the certificate issued by it. This, however, need not be unconditional, but 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 upon surrender/return of the original certificate (or duplicate original certificate, as the case may be) by the applicant. 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.”
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 appellant has challenged the order passed by the Delhi High Court dated December 20, 2010, in a civil appeal challenging the constitutionality and legality of byelaw 69.1(i) of Central Board of Secondary Education Examination byelaws, 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.
CBSE bye-law 69.1(i) states the following:
“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 counsel for the appellant through their written submissions, urged that CBSE certificates are public records and it carry genuine importance. It was further urged that 2007 Byelaws place school records above public documents which carry presumption of genuineness under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. It further submitted that by amending Byelaw 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 counsel for the respondent submitted that the parents of the appellant had opportunities at the various instances of the time to change the names on the certificate. It further stated that the CBSE is registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, so, it has the power to make, delete or amend its bye-laws as per its own wish.
The issues which came up in this case were-
- (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/updating of public The Court after considering the above issues, gave certain guideline which have retrospective effect, i.e., old students could also opt for changing or correcting the contents by applying to the CBSE.
In conclusion, the Supreme Court directed the CBSE to “process the applications for correction or change, as the case may be, in the certificate issued by it in the respective cases under consideration”. The CBSE was further directed to amend its Byelaws to “incorporate the stated mechanism for recording correction or change, as the case may be, in the certificates already issued or to be issued by it”.
Rasmita Behera | Research Intern | EduLegaL