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IHC stops award ceremony

Updated September 03, 2013

ISLAMABAD, Sept 2: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday restrained the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) from distribution of the award to the position holders of Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) Part II Examination 2013 after two students challenged the results.

Lawyer Raja Inam Amin Minhas, appearing for the challengers Saad Jan and Abeera Saeed, adopted before IHC Chief Justice Mohammad Anwar Khan Kasi that his clients secured the highest marks in that examination but the FBISE authorities declared those who obtained comparatively less marks as position holders.

Asked for her comments after the court proceedings, the FBISE chairperson, Shaheen Khan, said she could give her official response after examining the relevant record.

“Apparently the petitioners might have improved their position in their second attempt and this would be the reason as the board did not include them in the position holders” she said.

“It is our policy to declare those students as position holders who qualify the examination in their first attempt,” she added.

She said that the FBISE would produce the relevant details before the IHC since the matter is pending before it.

Counsel Minhas contended before the IHC that his client Saad Jan had appeared in the ‘humanities group’ and secured the highest 927 marks out of total 1,100 but the FBISE declared Sara Noor, who obtained 914 marks, at first position.

Saad Jan drew the attention of the FBISE to the flaw on August 28, the day after it announced the result and the positions, with the request to revise the result to declare him the first position holder in the ‘humanities group’.

But the FBISE authorities shunned his request on the “flimsy ground” that Saad had opted for the facility of reappearing in one paper in HSSC Part I examination, the counsel informed the court.

He contended that the FBISE policy says the eligibility criteria for the declaration of top position is that the candidate should pass the examination in a single attempt and the petitioner has completed his HSSC annual examination of 2013 and it is also mentioned in his result card that “he has passed the examination in the single attempt.”

Counsel Minhas added that clause ‘d’ of section 1.19 of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education rules, which deal with the “declaration of top positions”, says that the “position will be declared on the basis of highest total marks, in order of merit.”

Abeera Saeed’s plea that she deserved the second position among the female students of general science group rested on identical arguments, the counsel told the court.

She appeared in general science group and secured 1,010 marks out of total 1,100.

Faiza Ahmed Khan was declared first position holder for she obtained 1,011 marks. But the second position was given to Novera Tahir, who secured 1010 marks, same as did Abeera Saeed.

“As per the practice and custom of the FBISE,” the counsel argued, “the second position has to be shared between the students who scored the same marks.”

Clause ‘g’ of section 1.19 of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education rules regarding declaration of top positions says “the board shall have the power to declare as many numbers of positions, as it may deem necessary” the counsel pointed out.

Abeera’s exam record shows that in the HSSC Part I exam she obtained 475 marks. Later, she opted for English and Urdu to improve her grade and gained 31 additional marks in her overall marks.

Counsel Minhas put to the court that the entire exercise was in accord with the FBISE rules and regulations.

Petitioner Abeera availed the facility of improving her overall marks, within the specified period of two years, and passed the HSSC Part II exam in her first attempt, as mentioned in her result card.

There were numerous examples from the past where students who availed the facility of enhancement of total marks were awarded position, he said.

Most recently, students Hafiz Mohammad Ali and Maria Hamdani won first position in 2012 and 2011, respectively. Both had availed the facility for enhancement of their marks, he added.

IHC Justice Kasi after hearing the arguments issued notice to the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education chairperson and sought her reply by September 10.

Meanwhile, on the request of the counsel, the court restrained the FBISE authorities from holding the award distribution ceremony for the position holders of humanities and general science groups.