1. While exercising power under Article 226 of the Constitution the High Court ought to be slow and circumspect in interfering with the internal academic matters of a University. However, where a grave injustice is caused by a University whereby a young student yearning for knowledge learning and enlightenment is refused admission into the University classes illegally and arbitrarily, without any authority of law, this court will surely intervene and restore Justice in exercise of its jurisdiction and uphold the Constitution and the law.
2. Long before our independence, Tagore thought of freedom in an deal society, and expressed in his inimitable verve :
'Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high: Where knowledge is free
Into that Heaven of Freedom. my Father, Let my country awake.'
3. Our Constitution also underscores the imperative need for free education. We have not been able to provide 'free higher education' so there exists limitations, restrictions and constrictions in the matter of admission to various educational institutions.
4. Be that as it may, the sole question which has come up before us in this Writ application, is whether the University could refuse admission to the petitioner, a young girl, into M. A. Class ?
5. Miss S. Mamata Devi obtained her B. A. Degree from Gauhati University in 1979 with Honours in English. She secured 50.1% in the aggregate and 49.75% in English Honours. To prosecute her further studies she went to Delhi and obtained M. A. Degree in English (Linguistic). The subject 'English-Linguistic' is admittedly and undoubtedly separate from 'English-Language and Literature'. Manipur University at Imphal has been constituted under the Manipur University' Act. 1980. There are 10 Disciplines for Master of Arts/Science Degrees. The petitioner applied for discipline No. 2, namely. 'English-Language and Literature'. However, she did not write specifically the discipline and instead wrote 'English' in her application form for admission into M. A. Part-I in Manipur University. However, it is a technical error. She submitted her application Form within the last date and deposited the required amount. There are 'Instructions and Informations about the Admission to M. A. & M. Sc. Programmes in Manipur University' framed by the University, prescribing the conditions, qualifications and eligibility for admission into M. A. Classes. However, she was not admitted into M. A. Class by the University without assigning any reason. So, she was compelled to file the writ application along with a prayer to permit her to prosecute her studies pending disposal of the writ application. The application was registered as Civil Misc. Case No. 16 of 1983 which came up for hearing on 23-2-1983 and the University placed before us the relevant records from which we noticed that the application of the petitioner was placed before the Head of Department of English and the latter found some difficulties in placing the application for processing. The Head of Department found that the applicant had already obtained her M. A. Degree in 'English (Linguistic)' from Delhi University. The Head of Department found that the applicant had already obtained M. A. Degree in English and he sought necessary instructions from the Vice-Chancellor whether she could be admitted into M. A. Class in English. The note reads as follows:
'The question is whether she could be considered for admission into our Deptt., which is Department of Language and Literature.'
To this query the Vice-Chancellor wrote as under:
'We have no such Regulation No.'
As such, she was not admitted into M. A. Class. The petitioner questions the validity of the order of refusal to admit her into M. A. Class in 'English-Language and Literature.'
6. The petitioner contends that she had requisite qualification to be admitted into M. A. Class Admittedly, the requisite minimum qualification for admission into M. A. classes is that the applicant must obtain at least 40% marks in the subject in B. A. Degree examination. It is indubitable that the petitioner had secured 50.1% in the aggregate and 49.7 % in English Honours in her B.A. examination. Therefore, she had the requisite qualifications and the Respondents, according to the petitioner, had no authority of law to refuse to admit her into M. A. class. It has been contended that there is no Rule or Regulation of the University which stand in the way of the petitioner being admitted into M. A. classes because she had obtained her M. A. degree in another discipline or division.
7. The Respondents received notice of the Rule but have not contested the claim of the petitioner. On perusal of the application as well as. 'The Instruction and Information about Admission to M. A. and M. Sc. Programmes of the Manipur University, Imphal'' for short 'The Instructions' we find that the petitioner had all the requisite qualifications for admission into M.A. classes in English-Language and Literature. She secured 49.7% marks in English Honours in her B. A. examination. It is true that the petitioner did her M. A. in English. However, the subject was not 'English-Language and Literature.' 'English. (Linguistic).' which is undoubtedly separate from 'English-Language and Literature.' Further, there is no Rule or Regulation which debars a student to prosecute her studies in M. A. Classes in the University if she has obtained her M. A. in the same discipline or in another discipline. Accordingly, we have no hesitation in holding that the ground for refusal was violative of 'the Instructions.' There is no counter filed by the Respondents, nor did anybody appear on their behalf. We hold that the Vice-Chancellor was absolutely correct in saying 'we have no such Regulation,' meaning thereby there was no such Regulation to refuse admission. But he committed an error in assuming that in the absence of any Regulation a student having the requisite qualifications could be refused admission into M. A. classes. In our opinion, in absence of a Regulation disentitling a student to prosecute his or her study, the University is bound to consider the application and if not found otherwise ineligible, was bound to admit the student in M. A. Classes, The petitioner had the requisite qualification. There is no Act, Rules or Regulations etc. which empowered the University to refuse to admit the petitioner on the ground that she had obtained her M. A. degree. Admittedly, the subject in which the petitioner had obtained her M. A. degree was in a different discipline or division and surely not in the same subject. For these reasons, by our order dt. 22-3-83, we directed the Respondents to permit the petitioner to attend her M.A. classes and continue with her studies until disposal of the Rule. We are informed that the petitioner is prosecuting her studies. She is qualified to be admitted into M.A. classes and it appears to us that the Respondents realised the position and consequently they have not filed any return.
8. In the result, we accept the petition, make the Rule absolute and direct the Respondents to consider her application and to admit her into M. A. Classes in English-Language and Literature, unless she as found otherwise ineligible. The petitioner is continuing her studies in M. A. Classes and the Respondents should not disturb her to continue with her studies unless she is found to be otherwise ineligible or disqualified. However, we do not make any order as to cost for the simple reason that in the instant case Mr. P. K. Goswami, learned counsel has appeared on behalf of the petitioner, as amicus curiae, as desired by the Court, and as the Respondents have very rightly did not contest the rightful claim of the petitioner.
9. At this stage, Mr. N. N. Saikia, learned Govt. Advocate, Manipur appears and submits that he had received instructions from the learned Advocate General. Manipur that the Respondents do not contest the rightful claim of the petitioner, that the petitioner has been admitted into M, A. Classes and she has been permitted by the University to prosecute her studies in the University. We record our appreciation for the most gracious stand taken by the Respondents.