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Wasim Ahmed Khan Vs. Secretary, Board of High School and Intermediate Education, U.P., Allahabad and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 2970 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1961All290
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 14 and 226
AppellantWasim Ahmed Khan
RespondentSecretary, Board of High School and Intermediate Education, U.P., Allahabad and anr.
Appellant AdvocateS.N. Misra, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateShambhu Pd., Adv.
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
.....of india - appellant and other students of his college suspected of mass copying - found guilty by enquiry committee - writ petition - question of copying is a pure question of fact - question of fact can not be raised in writ petition. (ii) lack of definition - article 14 of constitution of india - no definition of misconduct given in any rules of the regulations or code - word left to be interpreted by enquiry committee or examiner - whether violation of article 14 - board disqualified candidate for misconduct based on copying - copying is not an honest and gentleman conduct - by mere lack of definition the action of board will not be hit by article 14. - - thomas inter college was conducted by very experienced and excellent teachers and the students were prepared by..........results were published in the amrit bazar patrika on the 17th of june 1958 the results of the 20 students of intermediate classes of st. thomas inter college were withheld and a note was appended, by which they were directed to apply to the secretary at once to know the exact nature of charges. they were also asked to explain their conduct and submit an explanation within 15 days. the petitioner applied to the secretary for the charges but the same were not furnished. on the 17th of july 1958 an enquiry committee came to gandhi smarak intermediate college and the petitioner was also informed. the petitioner asked for charges but was not given (sic) for reply. they were required to answer the questions within two minutes. the petitioner answered that there was no copying done and the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

V.D. Bhargava, J.

1. This is a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution filed by Wasim Ahmad Khan against the Secretary, Board of High School and Intermediate Education and the Board of High School and Intermediate Education.

2. The petitioner claims that he was a student of St. Thomas Inter College, Shahganj, district Jaun-pur, which is a private institution and which coaches students upto Intermediate classes. The petitioner appeared for the Intermediate examination and his centre was at Gandhi Smarak Intermediate College, Samodhpur, district Jaunpur. His roll number was 38463. At the said centre it is said that about 200 students were appearing in the Intermediate examination.

According to the petitioner the teaching of St. Thomas Inter College was conducted by very experienced and excellent teachers and the students were prepared by the said College in an excellent manner. There were certain questions in Mathematics and Chemistry which were considered to be more important by the teachers of the institution and about 20 students of the said institution, who had taken Science, were told that certain set cf questions were very important and special attention had been given by the teachers of the said institution in respect of a certain class of questions.

On the 1st of April 1958 Chemistry II paper for the petitioner and the other class-mates was held and some of the expected questions came in the examination. Likewise the examination of Mathematics II paper was held on the 9th of April. 1958 and in that examination also some of the questions that were expected came in the papers. The 20 students of St. Thomas Inter College were being examined in 'Gandhi Smarak Intermediate College, Samodhpur centre and the said centre had its own invigilators and they had made seating arrangements of their own.

The petitioner had done his paper very well as the staff of St. Thomas was very excellent and there was fine coaching and the results of this institution had been very excellent. When the results were published in the Amrit Bazar Patrika on the 17th of June 1958 the results of the 20 students of Intermediate Classes of St. Thomas Inter College were withheld and a note was appended, by which they were directed to apply to the Secretary at once to know the exact nature of charges.

They were also asked to explain their conduct and submit an explanation within 15 days. The petitioner applied to the Secretary for the charges but the same were not furnished. On the 17th of July 1958 an Enquiry Committee came to Gandhi Smarak Intermediate College and the petitioner was also informed. The petitioner asked for charges but was not given (sic) for reply. They were required to answer the questions within two minutes. The petitioner answered that there was no copying done and the answer book of other candidates were not shown to him. He has been held guilty of having copied from the answer-book of other candidates and so also the other 20 students of the college.

3. According to the petitioner he was not given a reasonable opportunity to meet the charges and the Board of High School and Intermediate Education is not authorised to make any enquiry, and, in any event, is not authorised to punish the candidates for misconduct. No definition of misconduct has been given in any of the rules of the Regulations or under the Code and, therefore, it is hit by Article 14 of the Constitution, because it would depend on the vagaries of the Enquiring Committee or the Examiners.

4. On behalf of the respondents two counter affidavits have been filed, one by Sri B. N. Kar, who had conducted the enquiry and the other by the Additional Deputy Secretary (Litigation) of the. Board of High School and Intermediate Education, U. P. It has been controverted in the counter affidavit that reasonable opportunity had not been given. Along with the counter affidavit the questions that had been put to the petitioner and his answers have also been enclosed as Annexures H and I, from reading of which, it is clear that the petitioner had been guilty of the charges against him.

In the counter affidavit it has further been alleged that it was not within two minutes that they were asked to answer but they had been given sufficient time to consider the questions and then to give answers. It is further contended that it is true that there is no report from any of the invigilators complaining the use of unfair means by the candidates but there was a report from the Examiners concerned that there was a mass copying and action had been taken on the report of the examiners, which had been submitted to the Head Examiner and the Head Examiner had agreed with the report of the Examiners.

5. In recent cases between some of the students and the Agra University I had an occasion to observe that the Universities and similarly the Board of High School and Intermediate Education are educational and autonomous bodies and, there should be the least interference from outside and itbis Court will be reluctant to interfere with the administrative and disciplinary matters unless it thinks that there has been a blatant deviation of any law. In that case I had followed the decision in Ram Chander Roy v. University of Allahabad, (S) AIR 1956 All 46 where it had been observed as follows:--

'Further, this Court has always, held that, in matters of discipline of educational institutions, it will not exercise its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution unless 'some legal right of a student has been violated.' As has been held by Lord Goddard, C. J. in R. v. Metropolitan Police Commr. Ex. parte Parker, (1953) 2 All ER 717, that:- '.....where a person, whether he is a military officer, a police officer, or any other person whose duty it is to act in matters of discipline, is exercising disciplinary powers, it is most undesirable, in my opinion, that he should be fettered by threats of order of certiorari and so forth, because that interferes with the free and proper exercise of the disciplinary powers which he has.'

6. Therefore I have to see whether there has been such an irregularity. We have also to see whether there is any fundamental right of the student which has been infringed or there has been such a patent error in the procedure on account of which this Court should interfere in its extraordinary jurisdiction.

7. The question whether there had been copying or not is a pure question of fact in which this Court cannot interfere. From the reports of the Examiners which have been filed there cannot be any doubt that they are based on facts. As no mala fides have been alleged against the Examiners it is clear that the answers of the 20 candi-dates were tallying. There were common mistakes committed by them.

The manner of answers was practically the same. If from those manners the examining body or the committee had come to the conclusion that there had been a copying, it cannot be said that they had no jurisdiction or they could not come to that conclusion and their finding was a perverse one. If that is so, even if the finding is erroneous, it would not be possible for me to change that finding.

8. If that finding of fact is accepted, then the petitioner is guilty of having copied in the examination. In a writ petition before a person can come and ask for the exercise of the extraordinary writ jurisdiction he must show that he has come with a clean hand. If his own conduct is not honest then, in that event, this Court would be reluctant and would not ordinarily exercise its jurisdiction even though there may be irregularities or errors in the exercise of jurisdiction. The fundamental rule of writ jurisdiction is that, so far as the petitioner is concerned, his conduct must be fair and satisfactory. In the present case I do not think that the conduct of the petitioner had been so.

9. The petitioner has complained that he had not a reasonable opportunity to meet the charges and the charges had never been given to him. As regards the question of reasonable opportunity being given in cases of educational bodies, the matter had come before a Bench of this Court in Special Appeal No. 174 of 1955. That was also a case in which the petitioner had been detected using unfair means during the examination. It was contended in that case that the petitioner had not been afforded a reasonable opportunity of cross-examining the witnesses and of leading his own defence. As in the present case, in that case also, the petitioner denied that he had ever copied. The Bench held that:

'Now it is not for this Court to weigh the evidence and decide whether the appellant was guilty of adopting unfair means; that in our opinion was a matter for the Examinations Committee.'

The Bench again held that:-

'The appellant was in our opinion entitled to have an opportunity of giving his account of the incident, but it was not necessary -- and learned counsel does not contend that he should have been given an opportunity of appearing in person before the Committee. It was sufficient if he were given a reasonable opportunity of stating his case; and we think that he was afforded such opportunity.'

10. In the present case also, I think so far as the opportunity of giving the petitioner's accountwas concerned, he had been given an opportunity and actually he gave out his account. According to him, and which is his case here also, since all the 20 students were of the same college and all had been taught by the same teachers, who were very efficient teachers, who could predict what questions were coming and had given their answers and therefore, the answers were tallying and that explanation had been considered. Apart from the fact that I cannot go into that question, I think that finding appears to be correct. It is almost impossible to have same answers in Chemistrypaper. In the mathematics papers also it is impossible to have exactly the same mistakes in answer books of 20 students.

11. Learned counsel for the petitioner had argued that the word 'misconduct' has not been defined and it has been left to the vagaries of the educational department to interpret the word in any manner they choose, and, therefore, this provision is hit by Article 14 of the Constitution. It may be that the Board of High School and Intermediate Education might in one case consider certain acts misconduct while in another case it might not consider it as a misconduct.

It is almost impossible to define what acts would constitute misconduct. There may be something which in ordinary parlance may not amount to misconduct, but may be declared to be so by some statutory rules. There can be some acts which may be on the border line. Some might consider it a misconduct while others may not. Thirdly, there will be some acts which will always be misconduct and by no reasonable and prudent man can they be considered anything else, but a misconduct.

In the case of the last category there cannot be any doubt and if the Board considers that, as a misconduct, no objection can be taken in this Court. If the question had been in the first category, the matter might have stood on an entirely different footing, For example, supposing a person is disqualified because his face was black. In that case nobody would say that it would be a misconduct and it would be indeed a vagary of the Board to declare it so.

But copying in the examination has never been considered to be an honest and gentlemanly conduct and it would always be called a misconduct and if on that ground the Board has disqualified a candidate I cannot say that the Board has exercised the right in an arbitrary fashion. Under the circumstances, merely because there was no definition of the word 'misconduct' the contention that the power exercised by the Board should be considered to be hit by Article 14 of the Constitution in my opinion has no force. Actually there can never be an exhaustive definition of misconduct.

12. Considering all the facts and circumstances of the case I think there is no force inthis writ petition which is accordingly dismissedwith costs.


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