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The Delhi High Court has passed a direction to the Central Government to treat 54.95% marks secured by a Judge Advocate General aspirant in the LL.B. Examination as 55% after rounding off, thus making him eligible to apply for the JAG Branch, Special Entry Scheme.
The order was passed by a Division Bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh in a petition by the aspirant, Ajay Singh.
On July 28, 2017, an official notification was published on the website ‘www.joinindianarmy.nic.in’ calling upon law graduates to apply online for the JAG branch of the Indian Army after selection by the Service Selection Board (SSB) through interview.
The eligibility criterion for applying was 55% marks in a recognised degree in law.
It was the petitioner’s grievance that his percentage in the LL.B course worked out to be 54.95%. Therefore, he was unable to fill up the online form since he did not meet the minimum eligibility criterion of 55%.
According to the petitioner, a difference of a mere 0.05% should not prevent him from applying for the JAG Branch of the Indian Army.
Recording that the fact that the difference in the petitioner’s percentage and the minimum marks required for filling up the form was “mere 0.05%” was not disputed, the Court stated that the principle of “rounding off” had been recognised in law in a number of decisions.
Quoting from the Supreme Court’s decision in State of U.P v. Pawan Kumar Tiwari in which rounding off 46.5% to 47% to accommodate a person in the Civil Judge (Junior Division) in the Uttar Pradesh Judicial Service was accepted, the Court noted in the order,
“7. … The rule of rounding off based on logic and common sense is: if a part is one half or more, its value shall be increased to one and if a part is less than half then its value shall be ignored. 46.50 should have been rounded off to 47 and not to 46 as has been done.”
Apart from the above-mentioned case, the Court referred to several other judgments of the Supreme Court as well to conclude that rounding off was an accepted principle in law.
The Court thus directed the Central Government to treat the 54.95% marks secured by the petitioner in the LL.B. Examination as 55%, thus making him eligible to apply for the JAG Branch, Special Entry Scheme.
The Court further said that within a period of four weeks, the Central Government would either open an online portal to enable the petitioner to fill up the form by indicating the percentage of marks obtained by him as 55%, or alternatively, permit him to submit his application manually indicating the percentage of the marks obtained in the LL.B. degree as 55%.
The petitioner was represented by Advocates Pranay Jain and Ajay Singh Berwal.
Central Government was represented by Standing Counsel Anil Soni.