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Nanik Dharamdas Vazirani Vs. Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSpecial Civil Appln. No. 2559 of 1956
Judge
Reported inAIR1957Bom246; (1957)59BOMLR569; ILR1958Bom60
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 19(1) and 226; Maharaja Sayajirao University Act, 1949 - Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 24, 31, 47, 47(1) and 47(2); Maharaja Sayajirao University Rules and Ordinances - Ordinance 278
AppellantNanik Dharamdas Vazirani
RespondentMaharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda and ors.
Appellant AdvocateK.H. Nagrani and ;V.G. Lala, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateM.P. Amin, Adv. General and ;H.R. Gokhale, Adv.
Excerpt:
maharaja sayajirao university of baroda act (baroda xvii of 1949) - student of university on examiners' report found guilty by syndicate of practising unfair means at examination--syndicate cancelling student's result after thorough inquiry and due deliberation--powers of syndicate under ordinance framed under act to cancel result of candidate found practising unfair means at examination--whether syndicate entitled to pass order cancelling result of student without hearing him in defence--court whether can interfere with decision of university to impose penalty on student.;the petitioner who was a student of a university appeared as a candidate at an examination held by the university. on the report of the examiners the syndicate of the university found the petitioner guilty of having.....shah, j.1. nanik dharamdas vazirani, whom we will hereafter refer to as 'the petitioner', was a student of the intermediate college of the maharaja sayajirao university of baroda. the petitioner appeared as a candidate at the intermediate arts examination of the university he'd in the months of march/april 1956. the seat number allotted to the petitioner at the examination was 156. the results of the successful candidates at that examination were declared in may 1956- the university announced that tlie result of the petitioner and of some other candidates 'was kept in reserve'. on 25-5-1956. the father of the petitioner addressed a letter to the registrar of the university praying that the petitioner be granted grace marts in any subject where he might have failed. he also stated that he.....
Judgment:

Shah, J.

1. Nanik Dharamdas Vazirani, whom we will hereafter refer to as 'the petitioner', was a student of the Intermediate College of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. The petitioner appeared as a candidate at the Intermediate Arts Examination of the university he'd in the months of March/April 1956. The seat number allotted to the petitioner at the examination was 156. The results of the successful candidates at that examination were declared in May 1956- The University announced that tlie result of the petitioner and of some other candidates 'was kept in reserve'. On 25-5-1956. the father of the petitioner addressed a letter to the Registrar of the University praying that the petitioner be granted grace marts in any subject where he might have failed. He also stated that he was praying for 'justice, and justice alone' at the Registrar's 'generous hands'. By his letter, dated 2-6-1956, the Registrar informed the father of the petitioner that the petitioner was 'reported to have used unfair means' at the examination' and that the decision of the University regarding his case will be announced 'in due course'. By letter, dated 6-8-1.956, the father of the petitioner asked for a hearing before any action was taken against the petitioner. By letter, dated 13-6-1956, the Registrar informed him that the decision of the University will be announced 'in due course' as' already intimated. On 26-6-1956. the University published a 'notification' under the direction of the Syndicate, that the candidates whose names were set out were found 'guilty of having practised unfair means at the University Examination mentioned against their names, held in March/April 1956' and their results were cancelled'. It was also directed that all those candidates excepting one Parsram were debarred from appearing at any University Examination before 31-13-1957. In the list of candidates the name of the petitioner was third. Intimation of this notification was given to the candidates concerned and to the office-bearers of the University and to all universities in India and certain other educational bodies. On 29-6-1956, the father of the petitioner addressed a letter to the Registrar requesting him to send the findings and the grounds on which the decision of the University was arrived at and also the marks obtained by the petitioner in every subject. He protested against the decision as 'unjust and unfair'' and contended that circulation of the notification meant 'reflection on the character' of the petitioner, who had been 'condemned unheard though previously requested on 30-6-1956, he addressed a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the University stating that no definite charge was intimated to the petitioner and no explanation was asked for and that the decision of the Syndicate was arrived at ex parte and it was unjust. He requested the Vice-chancellor to 'take fair attitude and prompt action', By his letter, dated 4-7-1956, the father of the petitioner was informed that the cases of all the candidates reported to have used unfair means at the examination were 'carefully gone through considering all aspects' and the Syndicate of the University had passed orders in the matter 'after due deliberation'. The Registrar also informed the father of the petitioner that the question of supplying marks did not arise because under the same resolution the Syndicate 'had resolved to cancel the results' of all those candidates. By his letter, dated 12.7-1956. the father of the petitioner reiterated that the petitioner had become the victim of suspicion only and any punishment inflicted upon him without calling for his explanation could not legacy stand. He, therefore, asked the Registrar to inform him the full details as requested in his earlier letters. On 17-7-1956, the petitioner's father addressed a letter to the Vice-Chancellor praying for justice and threatening that if justice was denied, he may have to take legal action. There was some further correspondence between the father of the petitioner and the University authorities. On 2-8-1956, one, Gidumal, Advocate, acting under instructions from the petitioner, addressed a letter to the Registrar calling upon him to move the Syndicate 'to vacate its illegal order, dated 25-6-1956' and in default threatening legal action. In reply to that letter, the Registrar by his letter, dated 3-8-1956, informed the Advocate that in cases where the examiners made a report to them about the use of unfair means by any candidate, it was not considered necessary to ask for any explanation from the candidate concerned; and that the examiners appointed by the University were all responsible persons and their report was duly considered by the University. After some more correspondence this application was filed by the petitioner on 15-9-1956, for

'necessary and appropriate writs celling for the record of the entire enquiry, the examiners' reports and all the evidence and material upon which the findings of the said Committee were based as also the proceedings in connection therewith taken before the Syndicate culminating in the order.. dated 25-6-1956,' and declaring that the order was ultra vires and to set it aside and for a further order directing the University and its officers to forbear from carrying out the impugned order and to treat the petitioners in the same way as if the order was never made and to declare the result of the ex-emination on the basis that the enquiry was never held.

2. The Registrar of the University by his affidavit submitted that the unfair means adopted bv the petitioner were not detected during the progress of the examination and, therefore, the supervisor or any other preson connected with the examination could not, at that stage inform thepetitioner that he had used unfair means, that the unfair means adopted by the petitioner were reported to the University by the examiners concerned and after the report was received there was a thorough inquiry and it was only after an ad hoc committee appointed for the purpose and the Syndicate of the University were satisfied that the petitioner was guilty of unfair mean, that action against him was taken. He submitted that the action taken by the University was in consonance with the powers vested in it by virtue of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda Act XVII of 1949 and the relevant rules and ordinances framed thereunder, and that the action taken by the officers of the University was taken in their administrative capacity for maintenance of discipline in the educational institutions, and it was not necessary to serve a charge-sheet or to give opportunity to the petitioner to meet the evidence against him or to give him an opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses or of being heard in his defence. The Registrar asserted that the action taken by the University was 'justifiable In the interest of the maintenance of discipline and to prevent cases of misconduct and unfair means occurring at the examinations conducted by the University', and submitted that the action taken by the University was 'perfectly in compliance with the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda Act and the Rules and Ordinances issued thereunder', and 'in consonance with the practice prevailing in such matters in other Universities'. He then stated that the examiners in the Economics paper as well as the Mathematics paper had reported that the petitioner and two other students, whose seats Nos. were 155 and 157, had used unfair means at the examination and these reports were 'carefully considered by the ad hoc committee' and action was taken against the petitioner after the Syndicate had 'carefully considered the whole matter and was convinced that the petitioner was guilty of copying or abetting copying in the examination and had therefore used, unfair means'. The Registrar stated that a perusal of the answers given by the petitioner clearly showed that he had copied his answers from the answer books of other candidates or had abetted copying and that the answer books of the petitioner clearly showed that he had copied verbatim 'even the mistakes in the answer books of the other candidates from whose answer books the petitioner had copied'. The Registrar produced with his affidavit photo, state copies of the answers given by candidates Seats Nos. 155, 156 and 157 in the Economics and the Mathematics Papers.

3. In suport of this application it was urged by Mr. Nagrani on behalf of the petitioner that the enquiry held by the Syndicate into the alleged misconduct of the petitioner was a quasijudicial enquiry and in any event having regard to the nature of the enquiry the Syndicate was bound to give the the petitioner an opportunity of submitting his representation on the charge of misconduct before the petitioner could be found guilty. It was urged that the Syndicate being a quasi-judicial authority was bound to follow the rules of natural justice and that the petitioner could not be condemned unheard. Reliance in support of that plea was sought to be placed upon the judgments of the Calcutta High Court in Dipa Pal v. University of Calcutta, : AIR1952Cal594 (A) and B. C. Das Gupta v. Bijovranjan Rakshit. : AIR1953Cal212 and upon a judgment of the Allahabad High Court, Ghanshyam Das Gupta v. Board of High School and Intermediate Education U. P., Allahabad : AIR1956All539 .

4. Before we deal with the contention raised by Mr. Nagrani and the authorities cited in support thereof, it may be pertinent to refer to the relevant provisions of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda Act XVII of 1949. By Section 3 of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda is constituted. The University is given powers described in Sections 4 to 7, Chapter III deals with the officers of the University. Under Section 24 the Syndicate is entitled to hold and conduct examinations or tests prescribed by the ordinances, to lay down conditions on which students shall be admitted to examinations and to publish the results of the University examinations and other tests. Section 31, Clause (v), provides that subject to the provisions of the Act, the statutes of the University may provide for 'the procedure for the withdrawal or cancellation of degrees, diplomas, certificates and other academic distinctions'. Section 33 confers the power to make ordinances for the conduct of examinations and other tests. Section 47 by its first sub-section authorizes the Chancellor, on the recommendation of the Syndicate and the Senate, to remove the name of any person from the register of graduates, or withdraw any diploma or degree, if that person has been convicted by a court of law of any serious offence involving moral turpitude. Sub-section (2) of Section 47 prescribes that no action under Section 47(1) shall be taken 'unless the person concerned is given an opportunity to be heard in his defence in the manner prescribed by the Statutes'. Ordinance 278 provides that on receipt of a report regarding the misconduct of any student at any University examination, the Syndicate shall have power to punish such misconduct by exclusion of such candidate from any University examination either permanently or for a specified period or by the cancellation of the result of the candidate in the University examination for which the candidate appeared.

5. That a report charging the petitioner with being guilty of serious misconduct at the examination for Intermediate Arts held by the University in March/April 1956 has net been undisputed. From the photo-stat copies produced by the Registrar, it is evident that the answers to Question No. 8 in the Economics paper of candidate No. 155 and the petitioner were word for word the same. Even the mistakes committed in the two answer papers are identical. In the first sentence, the two candidates instead of writing 'excess of credit' have written 'express of credit'. It also appears that the word 'Central' has been mis-spelt by both the candidates as 'Centrel' in the first line on page 1 of the answer papers. A perusal of the other answers given by the petitioner shows that the answer to question No. 8 could not be the unaided composition of the petitioner. The answer shows that the writer has a facile expression and the diction appears to be of a maturer mind than the petitioner's. But Mr. Nagrani has urged that the candidates at this examination made an intelligent guess and expected that question No. 8 would be set in the examination paper in this examination and they had, therefore, memorised the answer from a standard book and that is why the answer is in the form in which it is found. That, however, does not explain the common mistaken committed. Mr. Nagrani also urged that candidate seat No. 155 may have without the knowledge of the petitioner copied out the answer written by the petitioner. Mr. Nagrani has also relied upon the circumstance that candidate seat No. 155 wasalso one of the candidates whose result was cancelled on the ground of alleged misconduct at the examination. Mr. Nagram says that if the petitioner had been given an opportunity of explaining the charge against him, he would have been able to show conclusively before the University authorities that he had not been guilty of any unfair practice and that the charge against him was unwarranted. The question then is whether a University before passing an order disqualifying a candidate at an examination for alleged misconduct is bound to call for an explanation from Mm. If the University authorities are bound to call for an explanation and to give a hearing to an examinee having failed to give the petitioner a hearing, the order passed by the University is liable to be set aside.

6. If the proceedings of the examining body for cancellation of the result of candidate are Quasi-judicial proceedings, the body must give the candidate a hearing before holding him guilty of misconduct. Again if the Regulations or the ordinances governing the examining body prescribe either expressly or by necessary implication that before action is taken against a candidate he must be given a hearing that procedure must be followed. But the University in holding examinations and in seeking to punish misconduct of a candidate in the course of the examination is in our judgment acting as an administrative body. A candidate when he presents himself as a candidate for a University examination agrees to submit himself to the decision of the authorities appointed for conducting the examination, & it would introduce the greatest confusion if the Courts of law were entitled to interfere and declare a candidate successful when the authorities declare him to have failed. The evaluation of the quality and merit of the answers submitted by the candidate must of necessity be left to the, examining authorities to whose judgment the candidate has submitted himself, and it is not open to him to say that his answer papers should have been valued otherwise. Again if on materials before them the University authorises are satisfied that the answers given by the candidate to questions set at the examination are not his real answers but that he has been guilty of misconduct in answering the questions, it is difficult to hold that the civil Court will be competent to 'enter upon an investigation and hold that the evidence before the University was insufficient to hold the misconduct proved. It was not disputed that if a candidate is found guilty of misconduct at the time of answering the questions by the supervisors or invigilators in the examination hall, the authorities of the University will be justified in taking action against him under the relevant ordinances or statutes. We are unable then to appreciate the reason for making a distinction between a case in which the misconduct of a candidate has been discovered in the examination hall and a case where he has by clever manipulation or otherwise escaped detection at that stage and the misconduct is discovered when the answer papers are examined. If in submitting himself to the judgment of the examiners regarding the quality and merit of the answers submitted by him the candidate has made the University the sole and final authority to decide whether he is successful at the examination it must, in our judgment, also follow that by submitting himself at tile examination he has made the University authorities the final judges on the question whether he has misconducted himself in the course of the examination. It is therefore not open to a candidate at an examination to challenge the authority of the University to declare him unsuccessful at the examination in the view either that he has failed to satisfy the examiners or that he has so misconducted himself in the course of the examination that on grounds of discipline he should be declared unsuccessful and be subjected to penalties prescribed by the Statute. The decision of the University authorities to declare a candidate unsuccessful, and to impose penalties is not open review by the courts unless it is shown to be arbitrary, capricious or mala fide.

7. In Jogendra Raj Kishore v. University of Allahabad, : AIR1956All503 , it was held by a Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court:

'In cases where an authority acts administratively, unless the order affects the fundamental rights of a person, it is not necessary in every case to give an opportunity to the person affected by the order of the authority to explain his conduct, particularly in cases where an order has been passed by an authority for the Purpose of maintaining the discipline of an institution'.

It was observed in that Case:

'In such cases, in the nature of things, Immediate action may be necessary and if there is an obligation on the authority to give an opportunity to show cause, it may result in defeating the very object for which a power is given to the executive authority, and the Courts will be reluctant to interfere with the discretion, in such circumstances, exercised by the authority in inflicting punishment, except in cases where it goes beyond its jurisdiction or when action has not been taken bona fide.'

In that case the Vice-Chancellor of the University passed an order expelling a student from the University acting upon the report of the Proctors. The student then applied for a Writ under Article 226 of the Constitution challenging the validity of the order of the Vice-Chancellor. It was the case of the University that the student was guilty of gross misconduct in that he had joined students who were rusticated on account of their activities subversive to discipline of the University and the student was reported to be delivering speeches against the university authorities and was inciting other students by shouting indecent slogans. The student denied the allegations made by the University authorities. The High Court of Allahabad held that it was not for the High Court to investigate into the truth or otherwise of the allegations made by the parties and it could not be said that the Vice-Chancellor in acting on the report of the Proctors acted beyond his jurisdiction. They also held that it was not necessary for the Vice-Chancellor to give an opportunity to the student to be heard before an order of explanation was passed.

8. Under Ordinance 278 framed by the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, it does not appear to be obligatory upon the Syndicate of the University to hear a student before imposing a penalty upon him for misconduct. Where the Legislature thought it necessary that action should be taken only after giving an opportunity to be heard, an express provision in that behalf was made in Section 47 of the Act. Evidently the petitioner is not claiming protection of any fundamental right by his petition, and the Ordinance not having made it obligatory upon the University to give the petitioner a hearing, we do not think that failure to give the petitioner an opportunity of explaining the inferences which arise from the papers submitted by him does not, in our judgment, vitiate the order passed by the University. A comparison of the answer papers in the Economics section and the Mathematics section discloses that there has been serious misconduct on the Part of the petitioner either in copying from the answer papers of another candidate or allowing another candidate to copy from his answer papers. There was evidence on which the authorities could act and if they have acted on that evidence, this Court exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution is incompetent to review the decision of the authorities. It has not been contended before us that the action of the University is either arbitrary, capricious or mala fide.

9. Strong reliance was, however, sought to be placed by Mr. Nagram upon another judgment of the Allahabad High Court. In : AIR1956All539 , Mr. Justice Raghubar Dayal and Mr. Justice Brij Mohan Lall differed on the question whether before taking any punitive action for misconduct by a candidate at an examination it was necessary to give notice to the candidate. Mr Justice Brij Mohan Lall held that the Examinations Committee of the Board of High School and Intermediate Education U.P. Was bound to Rive the candidates an opportunity of being heard during its consideration of the alleged use of unfair means at the examination and the Board having failed to do so, the order was vitiated. Mr. Justice Raghubar Dayal took a contrary view. The case was then referred to Mr. Justice Agarwala who agreed with the view of Mr. Justice Brij Mohan Lall. Mr. Justice Agarwala held that the provisions empowering the Board or the Examinations Committee to cancel the results of the examination did not infringe the candidate's rights under Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution, but the Examinations Committee in considering the charges of malpractice or use of unfair means by examinees was exercising quasi-judicial functions. It may be observed that Mr. Justice Brii Mohan Lall and Mr. Justice Raghubar Payal had held that the University Act and the Regulations did not require the Examinations Committee to act judicially or quasi-judically when it was considering the reports of candidates using unfair means at an examination. They held that the Examinations Committee was acting administratively when it considered cases of examinees using unfair means at an examination. Mr. Justice Agarwala observed that if he was free to express his opinion, he would have held that when the Examinations Committee considered the charges of malpractices or use of unfair means by examinees and imposed penalties upon them, it exercised a quasi-judicial function. Mr. Justice Agarwala also agreed with Mr. Justice Brij Mohan Lall and held that the failure of the Examinations Committee of the Board of High School and Intermediate Education U.P to provide the examinees an opportunity of being heard during its consideration or the alleged use of unfair means by them at the examination vitiated their order. In coming to the conclusion, Mr. Justice Agarwala was of the view that the penalty imposed upon the candidates was 'likely to cause very serious damage to their career in that not only do they lose two years of their life but also they carry a stigma all their lives, and might be unfit for ever being taken in government service.' The learned Judge, therefore, thought that in these circumstances the requirements of natural justice demanded that the examinees should be afforded an opportunity to explain the charges brought against them.

10. With respect, we are unable to agree with the view taken by Mr. Justice Agarwala. The question whether the candidates were entitled to a hearing before an order was passed against them for misconduct could not be decided solely on the consideration that the penalty imposed was likely to have serious consequences in the careers of the candidates concerned. The question had to be decided having regard to the nature of the enquiry and to the fact that the candidates had submitted themselves to being examined by the University and had in substance agreed to accept the decision of the University.

11. Mr. Justice Agarwala observed in the course of his judgment:

'Apart from the cases in which special provision of a statute may obviate the necessity of hearing the aggrieved party, there is another exception to the general rule stated above; no notice need be given when action is taken for the maintenance of discipline.

Where a class teacher or the head of an educational institution or a commander of an army in the field or an officer in charge of a fire brigade is faced with act of indiscipline on the part of a student or examinee or a member of the force for the purpose of maintaining order and discipline in the institution or force, his action has to be swift and immediate lest one bad example may corrupt others. Delay or laxity may spell disaster.

In such cases, in the nature of things, immediate action may be taken without any opportunity of showing cause being afforded, and courts do not interfere with the discretion used in Inflicting punishment except when it is beyond the jurisdiction of the authority concerned or when the action has not been taken bona fide.'

12. It is difficult to appreciate the distinction which is sought to be made between cases where the misconduct of the examinee is discovered in the examination hall and where it has been detected in the course of checking up the answers submitted by the examinee. If the proceeding of the University or its officers imposing a penalty is regarded as quasi-judicial, an opportunity must be given to the person likely to be affected by the penalty before action is taken. Action is taken against a candidate found guilty of unfair practices at an examination whether he was actually detected by the invigilators or other officers present in the examination hall or whether his use of unfair practices had been discovered subsequently on the ground that he has been guilty of an act amounting to a breach of discipline, and we are unable to agree that the distinction sought to be made by the learned Judge can be justified on principle.

13. In : AIR1952Cal594 , Mr. Justice Bose of the Calcutta High Court also took the view that

'in cases where breaches of discipline are detected by the invigilators or other officers present in the examination hall and candidates concerned are expelled from the hall or are otherwise dealt with, question of any enquiry or investigation upon notice to the candidates may not arise. But where no case of breach of discipline is actually detected but subsequently upon examination of the answer papers the examiners come to entertain suspicion about adoption of unfair means by particular candidate or candidates and the Examination Board has to consider such cases and come to a determination as to the nature of the offence committed and has to apportion the penalty which can properly be inflicted noon the delinquents, it is only fit and proper that the party arraigned should have an opportunity to defend himself and to offer an explanation, if any,'

For reasons already set out we are unable to hold that the distinction 'which the learned Judge made is justifiable. The learned Judge also held that the word 'consider' in Chapter XXV, Regulation 8 of the Rules framed by the Board of Examiners necessarily involved and imported a decision not merely depending upon opinion but depending upon inquiry or investigation. We have not before us the rules which Mr. Justice Bose had to interpret and we are unable to hold that in the context of the rules the word 'consider' was used in the sense of an adjudication implying some trapping of a quasi-judicial enquiry. We are unable, however, to hold that under Ordinance 278 of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda there is any obligation to act judicially.

14. A similar view was expressed in : AIR1953Cal212 . In that case the Court held that in deciding whether the candidates at an examination had been guilty of unfair means and what punishment should be inflicted, the Governing Body must not only act in good faith, but also fairly and reasonably. There can be no doubt about the correctness of the view so expressed. But we are unable to agree that in performing that duty the examiners gave notice of his delinquency to the candidate and also an opportunity of being heard before action is taken against him.

15. Undoubtedly the finding of a University Body that a candidate at an examination had used unfair means in answering questions may involve serious consequences to the candidate. But the Court must assume that responsible members of the University holding examinations will act honestly and fairly. If it appears to the Court in a proper proceeding that the Examining Body or the University has acted arbitrarily, capriciously or mala fide, the jurisdiction of the Courts to correct the Examining Body or the University will certainly be invited. But we do not think having regard to the nature of the enquiry that it is obligatory upon, the University to give in every case the candidate, who is found to have used unfair means, an opportunity of being heard in his defence before action is taken. This is not to say that in proper cases where the Examining Body feels some doubt it may not five a hearing to the candidate before taking action. What we are seeking to impress is that there is no obligation upon the Examining Body or the University to give an opportunity to the candidate, where it is satisfied that action is called for against a candidate as punishment for having used unfair means at an examination.

16. On that view of the case, Rule is discharged with costs.

Gokhale, J.

17. I agree. The authorities of the respondent No. 1 University have taken action against the petitioner cancelling his result and debarring him from appearing at any University Examination before 31st December 1957, under Ordinance 278 relating to examinations which runs as follows:.--

'On receipt of a report regarding the misconduct of any student at any University, or Faculty or College Examination, including breach of any of the rules laid down by the Syndicate for the proper conduct of examinations, the Syndicate shall have power to punish such misconduct or breach of rules by exclusion of such Candidate from any University, Faculty or College examination or any University course in a Faculty or a College in the University, or from any Convocation for the purpose of conferring degrees, either permanently or for a specified period, or by the cancellation of the result of the candidate in the University examination for which the candidate appeared or by the deprivation of any University scholarship held by him, or by the cancellation of the award of any University prize or medal to him, or in any two or more of the aforesaid ways.'

The power to make Ordinances is vested in the Syndicate of the Baroda University under Section 34 of the Maharaja Sayajirao University Of Baroda Act, 1949 and the legality of this Ordinance has not been challenged in any way by Mr. Nagrani who appears for the petitioner. This Ordinance empowers the Syndicate on receipt of a report regarding the misconduct of any student at any University examination to punish such misconduct in the manner specified in the Ordinance, It does not impose any obligation on the Syndicate to give any opportunity to the candidate, against whom action is proposed to be taken, to challenge the evidence against him or to give explanation of his conduct. On the other hand, Section 47 of the Act shows that when removal from membership of University and withdrawal of degree or diploma is contemplated, the Legislature provided the safeguard that no action under the section should be taken unless the person concerned was given an opportunity to be heard in his defence in the manner prescribed by the Statutes. Since the Ordinance itself does not provide for giving any opportunity to the candidate to meet the charges and the evidence against him prima facie the argument that the orders of the University against the petitioner in this case are illegal as he was not given any opportunity to defend himself seems not to be sound.

18. Speaking for myself. I should think that it is essential for any academic authority invested with powers of punishment ordinarily to allow a candidate against whom a charge of having practised unfair means at the University Examination is laid, to tender explanation, if any about his conduct, as any action that may be taken against him may possibly have an ad versa effect on his future career. But that does not mean that because the University authorities in their discretion do not give the candidate any such opportunity their order can be challenged in a Court of law on that ground alone. In the interest of discipline and maintenance of standards at University Examination and to prevent malpractices and the use of unfair means, powers are given to the Syndicate and it is clear from the correspondence and the affidavits filed in this case that the Syndicate has considered the evidence against the petitioner and passed the order that it did cancelling his results and debarring him from appearing at any University Examination before 31st December, 1957. However, the action of the University is challenged by Mr. Nasrani on the ground that the order is vitiated because the principles of natural justice require that his client should be heard before action was taken against him and that those principles were not followed in this case. Reliance has been placed by Mr. Nagrani on the rulings in : AIR1952Cal594 end CS) : AIR1956All539 , in support of his argument that the order of the respondent No. 1-UniversityIs invalid on the ground that his client was not given any opportunity to meet the charges against him. On the other hand, the learned Advocate General relies on : AIR1956All503 , which takes the view that in cases where an authority acts administratively, unless the order affects the fundamental rights of a person, it is not necessary in every case to give an opportunity to the person affected by the order of the University to explain his conduct. These cases undoubtedly disclose some conflict of opinion as to the nature of the powers exercised by the authorities of a University in dealing with misconduct of students at examinations. In my opinion however, it is not necessary to go into this conflict because the circumstances of this case do not justify any interference of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. It is not contended by Mr. Nagrani, and in my opinion rightly that the order of the University was in any way arbitrary, capricious or mala fide The letters addressed by the University to the petitioner's father as well as the affidavit of the Registrar in reply to the present petition clearly indicate that the examiners in two papers had reported against the petitioner as having copied From another candidate for the examination and/ or having abetted copying by another candidate, There was an ad hoc committee appointed by the Syndicate to consider alleged cases of unfair means and that Committee examined all the evidence available in the case and made their recommendations to the Syndicate in the matter. The letter of the Registrar dated 3rd August 1956 addressed to the petitioner's advocate states that in cases where the examiner made a report to the University about the use of unfair means by any candidate, it is not considered necessary to ask for any explanation from the candidate concerned, and that the report in the petitioner's case was duly considered by the University and action taken after the ad hoc Committee had gone into the case and made their recommendations. Along with the affidavit of the University, photo-stat prints of certain answers of candidate No. 155 as well as of candidate No. 156, i.e., the petitioner, have been produced and they bear out the allegation of the University that answer to one question in economics in the two answer books seem to have been copied verbatim from each other. It is the case of the University that the answer books of the petitioner indicate that the petitioner copied verbatim even the mistakes in the answer books of the other candidate. It seems from the Registrar's affidavit that this evidence about copying was shown to the petitioner when the petitioner and his father saw the Registrar on 8th August, 1956. Neither the petition nor the affidavit in rejoinder of the petitioner show that it was impossible for the petitioner to copy from the paper of candidate No. 155. The explanation given in the petition about the identity of the answers is that the candidates had been consulting each other before the question paper was set and had access to the same guide and help books. In the affidavit of the petitioner, he states with regard to the Economics Paper that the question on 'Central Bank and its functions' was a favourite question and it was amongst the questions indicated by the professor as being likely to he set and that he had from one of the text-books made out an answer to the question and had memerosed it fully, and that, before the examination, candidate No. 155 had asked him if there was any certain question and the petitioner had told him about this and had given him his copy where some errors had been made which also the petitioner had memorised. What is stated in the affidavit seems to be an afterthought. Neither the guide nor the text-book referred to have been produced before us and the explanation that both the students memorised the answer along with the identical mistakes in expression and spelling seems to be unbelievable. It must be assumed that the authorities of the University and the examiners and the Ad hoc Committee knew that students while preparing for examinations rely on well-known text-books and guides. But if the examiners, the Ad hoc Committee and the Syndicate came to the conclusion that the identity of the answers and the mistakes disclosed a clear case of copying, we do not think the petitioner is entitled to complain that he has been prejudiced because his explanation was not before the relevant University authorities before they decided to take action against him under Ordinance 278. In the circumstances of this case I do not think the petitioner is entitled to invoke our jurisdiction under Article 226 Of the Constitution and ask us to interfere with the action taken by the University.

19. Rule discharged.


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