THE High Court in Labasa granted leave to 11 students to apply for a judicial review of a decision made by the Education Minister not to award them marks in biology during the 2012 Fiji Seventh Form Examination.
On January 14, 2013, the minister had appointed an independent panel to investigate complaints of unfairness by the students in relation to their disqualification in the 2012 FSFE biology exam.
The minister had concluded that malpractice — in this case cheating — was evident among the students. He also upheld an earlier decision of the permanent secretary for Education, Dr Brij Lal, to award them zero marks on the subject.
Justice Kamal Kumar said even though the Education Minister appointed an investigation committee, no report was produced to the court to show what further investigation was carried out and whether the students were afforded procedural fairness before upholding the recommendations of the permanent secretary for education.
"Therefore I am of the view that the applicants have established that there is an arguable case which needs to be heard further by way of the judicial review."
During the FSFE held between October 29 and November 12, 2012, the students had sat for English, maths, chemistry, physics, technical drawing and biology. On December 28, the Education Ministry released the 2012 FSFE results where the students realised they were awarded zero marks in biology.
They then sought redress which ended up in the subsequent High Court decision.