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T.H. Srinivasa Vs. Bangalore University - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberW.P. No. 249 of 1985
Judge
Reported inILR1985KAR2763
ActsEvidence Act, 1872 - Sections 115
AppellantT.H. Srinivasa
RespondentBangalore University
Appellant AdvocateA.V. Gangadharappa, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateL. Srinivasa Reddy, Adv.
DispositionWrit petition allowed
Excerpt:
.....subject of english in april, 1977 examination by allowing the petitioner also to take the final year degree examination in april 1979 is precluded, on principles of equitable estoppel, from taking the stand that the petitioner had failed in the subject of english in april 1977 examination. 7. learned counsel for the university submitted that when the fact that the petitioner had actually failed in the subject of english is established, irrespective of all other facts which has happened subsequently, the petitioner is not entitled to degree certificate as according to the regulations of the university the passing in a subject securing 35 marks is a mandatory requirement and the petitioner had secured only 32 marks in english. the effect of applying theprinciple of equitable estoppel..........1979 (annexure-d) he passed the examination. thereafter the petitioner appeared for the final year degree examination in april 1979 with register no. 42882. according to the marks card dated 14th june, 1979 (annexure-e) he passed in all the subjects except in chemistry as he secured only 27 marks. he appeared for the said subject in october 1979 examination with register no. 38741. according to the marks card (annexure-f) the petitioner passed the said subject and in the remarks column it was entered as 'completes'.the petitioner thereafter joined the b.ed, degree course (a post-graduate course) and appeared for the b.ed, degree examination of the bangalore university held in june 1984. according to the statement of marks dated 4th september, 1984 (annexure-g) he passed theb.ed.,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Kama Jois, J.

1. The Petitioner has presented this Petition inter alia praying for the issue of a Writ of Mandamus directing the respondent to issue the B.Sc. degree certificate to the Petitioner.

2. The Petition has come up for preliminary hearing after notice to the respondent. By consent of both the Learned Counsel, it is taken up for final hearing.

3. The facts of the case in brief are as follows :

The petitioner appeared for the I year B.Sc. degree examination of the Bangalore University in April, 1977 with Register No. 158. According to the marks card dated 20th May, 1977 (Annexure-A) the Petitioner has passed in all the subjects except Kannada and Physics Theory, in which he had secured 32 and 29 marks respectively as against the minimum of 35 marks required for a pass. He appeared for the two failed subjects in October, 1977 examination with Register No. 1714. According to the marks card dated 5th March, 1978 (Annexure-B) he passed in both the subjects having secured 43 and 45 marks respectively. The petitioner appeared for the 11 year B.Sc. examination held in April, 1978 with Register No. 034381. According to the marks card dated 28-2-1979 (Annexure-C) he failed in the subject of English having secured only 28 marks. He appeared for the said subject once again in October 1978 examination with Register No. 034381. According to the marks card dated 15th January, 1979 (Annexure-D) he passed the examination. Thereafter the petitioner appeared for the final year degree examination in April 1979 with Register No. 42882. According to the marks card dated 14th June, 1979 (Annexure-E) he passed in all the subjects except in Chemistry as he secured only 27 marks. He appeared for the said subject in October 1979 examination with Register No. 38741. According to the marks card (Annexure-F) the petitioner passed the said subject and in the remarks column it was entered as 'COMPLETES'.

The petitioner thereafter joined the B.Ed, degree course (a post-graduate Course) and appeared for the B.Ed, degree examination of the Bangalore University held in June 1984. According to the statement of marks dated 4th September, 1984 (Annexure-G) he passed theB.Ed., degree examination in second class. Thereafter, the petitioner was appointed as teacher at Siddahartha Residential High School,Gandhinagar, Kolar. For the purpose of approval of his appointmerit, he was required to produce the degree certificates. When he sought for the B.Sc. degree certificate from the Bangalore University an endorsement dated 19th December 1984 has been issued, which is marked as Annexure-H in the WritPetion, relevant portion of it reads :

'Sri Srinivas, T.H. is informed that he has not passed English paper in I yearB.Sc., held during April 1979. Hence, his application for issue of Degree certificatecannot be considered. The application for Degree Certificate is returned herewith.'

Aggrieved by the said endorsement, the petitioner has presented this petition.

4. The stand taken on behalf of the Bangalore University, in support of the endorsement issued is as follows :

In the April 1977 examination at which the petitioner appeared for I year B.Sc. degree examination, the marks register maintained in the office of the Registrar, Bangalore University, discloses that the petitioner had secured 40 marks in Kannada and had passed the said subject, but had failed in English having secured only 32 marks. However, there was a mistake in making an entry in the marks card. The mistake was that the marks secured by the petitioner in Kannada was shown against English and vice-versa. As a result, though according to the marks register the petitioner had passed Kannada in the marks card issued, it was shown that he had failed in the said subject and though he had failed in English it was shown that he had passed in the said subject. The petitioner appeared for Kannada paper once again in October 1977 examination, at which he secured 43 marks as against 40 marks secured by him earlier. But, the fact remains that the petitioner had secured only 32 marks in English in April 1977 examination and had failed and had not appeared for the said subject at any time subsequently. The fact that the petitioner had not appeared for the subject of English subsequent to April 1977 is not disputed. It is in these circumstances, the endorsement has been issued. Some clerical mistake committed in the marks card constitutes no basis for the issue of a degree certificate to the petitioner when according to the marks register maintained in the Office of University which is the basic document showing the marks secured by the candidates, the petitioner had failed in one of the subjects of the I year B.Sc. examintion. Thus, he was not entitled to the degree certificate.

5. The learned Counsel for the University produced the marks register. The entries in the marks register accords with the submission made by the learned Counsel for the University. As the above facts were disclosed at the time of hearing and they were not known to the petitioner at the time of filing of the Writ Petition, learned Counsel for the petitioner sought permission to raise the plea of equitable estoppel on the basis of undisputed facts and circumstances of the case. I am convinced that this is a fit case in which the petitioner should be permitted to raise the additional plea as there is no dispute on facts. Accordingly, I permit the petitioner to raise the plea of equitable estoppel.

6. In support of the plea of equitable estoppel learned Counsel for the petitioner stated as follows : According to the marks card issued under the authority of the University on 20th May, 1977 (Annexure-A) the petitioner was declared to have passed in the English subject having secured 40 marks and he was declared to have failed in Kannadasubject having secured only 32 marks. In these circumstances, the petitioner appeared for the Kannada subject once again and passed it in October 1977 examination. If the University had rectified its mistake within a reasonable time and had informed the petitioner that he had actually passed in Kannada, but had failed in English the petitioner would have appeared for the English subject in any of the sub-sequent examinations and would have passed the saidsubject. The representation made by the University arising out of an authentic marks card was that the petitioner had passed in English subject and had failed in Kannada. The petitioner acted on the said basis and passed in Kannada, and there was no question of his appearing for examination in the subject of English once again. This happened 7 years before. Thereafter, the petitioner appeared for the II year B.Sc. examination in April and October 1978 and passed the said examination vide marks card produced as Annexures C and D. According to the revised regulations of the University which was in force, unless a candidate hadcompleted all the subjects of the I year he was not entitled to appear for the final year examination. The petitioner appeared for the final year examination held in April and October 1979 and passed in all the subjects of the final year as evidenced by copies of the marks cards Annexure-E and F. TheUniversity which had led the petitioner to believe that he had passed in the subject of English in April, 1977 examination by allowing the petitioner also to take the final year degree examination in April 1979 is precluded, on principles of equitable estoppel, from taking the stand that the petitioner had failed in the subject of English in April 1977 examination. Even if the University had noticed the mistake and had informed the petitioner before he appeared for the final year degree examination, he would have had the opportunity for appearing for the subject of English once again. Even that had not been done. Apart from this, the petitioner was admitted to the post graduate course i.e. forB.Ed., degree, during the academic year 198384 and according to the statement of marks issued by the Bangalore University (Annexure-G) the petitioner has passed the said degree course securing II Class. If at this distance of time and after all this, the University is permitted to say that the petitioner had not passed the I year degree examination itself, it would. result in a colossal waste of career of the petitioner for aperiod of 7 years. He would be in the same position as he was in the year 1977. If the said stand of the University is accepted, the petitioner would have to appear for thesubject of English once again and thereafter he has to appear for the B.Sc. final year examination once again and the post-graduate degree in education he has secured also stands nullified and the petitioner would have to again undergo theB.Ed., degree course which he has already undergone and passed the degree examinations.

7. Learned Counsel for the University submitted that when the fact that the petitioner had actually failed in the subject of English is established, irrespective of all other facts which has happened subsequently, the petitioner is not entitled to degree certificate as according to the regulations of the University the passing in a subject securing 35 marks is a mandatory requirement and the petitioner had secured only 32 marks in English.

8. In my opinion, this is a case in which the principle of equitable estoppel should come to the rescue of the petitioner to prevent manifest injustice to the petitioner as indeed the doctrine of equitable estoppel incorporated in Section 115 of the Evidence Act is, to prevent manifest injustice to one who had acted on the basis of the representation of facts made by the other. The effect of applying theprinciple of equitable estoppel does not mean that the University would be compelled to issue a degree certificate to a student who has failed, contrary to its regulations. The principle is that the University would be prevented from going behind the marks card according to which the petitioner had passed in English, at this distance of time and after the petitioner had passed the final degree examination as also the Post-Graduate degree course. In other words the University would be prevented from taking a stand on a question of fact, contrary to what it held out as existing, for all theseyears, en which basis both the University and the petitioner have acted. It is a rule of evidence incorporated in Section 115 to prevent manifest injustice. Undisputedly the petitioner had acted on the basis of the marks card and appeared for the subject of Kannada once again and passed in October 1977 examination. If the correct marks secured by him was entered in the marks card, instead of appearing for Kannada, he would have appeared for English. Apart from that, the following events have subsequently taken place :

(1) The petitioner passed the II year degree examination in 1978.

(2) The petitioner passed the final year degree examination in 1979.

(3) The petitioner got himself admitted to the post-graduate B.Ed. degree Course in the academic year 1983-84.

(4) The petitioner passed the B.Ed. degree examination in II Class in June 1984.

(5) The petitioner has also been appointed as a teacher, for which not only the degree qualification but also degree in education are the minimum qualifications required according to the Rules now in force.

9. After all these events had happened and after more than 7 years has elapsed from April, 1977, the University cannot be permitted to make a somersault and say that the marks card issued by it as early as on 20th May, 1977 (Annexure-A) is no evidence of the petitioner's passing the English paper in I year degree course.

10. The above principle is laid down by the Madras High Court in Registrar, University of Madrasv. Sundra Shetti and others, AIR 1956 Madras 309. The Division Bench of the Madras High Court disposed, of three cases by a common Judgment. In two oases the candidates though they had actually failed in the S.S.L.C examination were declared to have passed in the examination. On the basis of the said result, they joined intermediate class. After they passed the first year inter-mediate examination and when they were studying in the second year intermediate class, they were told that they had failed in the S.S.L., examination and, therefore, they were required to appear for S.S.L.C, examination once again and consequently their admission to the college also Stood cancelled. They questioned the legality of the decision. In the third case also though the candidate had failed in the S.S.L.C. examination and there was a declaration to the effect that he had passed in the examination, shortly there-after within about 3 months after his joining theintermediate class, the mistake was noticed and the earlier declaration was cancelled and he was declared to have failed in the examination. Chief Justice Rajamannar speaking for the Bench, while upholding in principle the power of theUniversity to rectify any mistake made in announcing the result or issue of certificate, accepted the plea of equitable estoppel in the first two cases as by the time the mistake was sought to be corrected, the two candidates had already passed the Junior Intermediate class and were studying in the Senior Intermediate class and rejected it in the third case, as the mistake was rectified within a reasonable time. The ratio of the first two cases applies with greater force to this case.

11. In the result, 1 make the following order:

(i) The Writ Petition is allowed.

(ii) A Writ in the nature of mandamus shall issue to the Bangalore University to issue the B.Sc., Degree Certificate to the petitioner.


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