K.C. Agarwal, J.
1. Sri Kedar Lal Verma, the petitioner appeared at the High School Examination of the U. P. Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Allahabad held in the year 1977. The petitioner obtained the marks-sheet from the Government Intermediate College, Peepalkot, District Pithauragarh. In the said marks sheet the marks secured by the petitioner in the various subjects offered by him were as under:--
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It is common case of the parties that on the marks secured, the petitioner could not be declared passed the High School Examination, But as against the column meant for being notified as pass or fail, the marks-sheet given to him mentioned that he had passed the examination. On the basis of the aforesaid marks-sheet, the petitioner claimed that he got himself admitted in the Intermediate in the Government Intermediate College, Luck-now. As the original marks-sheet, the petitioner claimed to have been supplied to him, had been lost, he applied for the duplicate marks-sheet. The duplicate marks-sheet issued to him declared that the petitioner had failed in the High School Examination. Thereupon the petitioner filed the present Writ petition on 27-2-79.
2. In the counter-affidavit filed on be-half of the U. P, Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Allahabad, the fact that the petitioner had been declared successful in the first marks-sheet issued to him, has not been clearly denied. The averment, however, is that on the marks obtained, the petitioner could not be declared to have passed the examination. The plea taken is that the petitioner was not entitled to take the benefit of the clerical mistake in the marks-sheet. In support of its case that the petitioner could not be declared passed, the plea taken is that one of the subjects offered by the petitioner was General Science. According to the regulation framed by the U. P. Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Allahabad, a student offering Science is required to secure 33% both in practical and in theory but as the petitioner had obtained only 19 marks in theory as against 24 which he ought to have obtained, the petitioner had not passed the examination.
3. The main ground raised, in support of the writ petition by Sri M. S. Negi, counsel appearing for the petitioner, was that the U. P. Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Allahabad, having declared that the petitioner had passed the High School Examination, could not be permitted to resile from the representation made to the petitioner. Counsel contended that on account of the representation made by the Board, the petitioner altered his position and acted to his detriment by joining Intermediate classes at Lucknow. Counsel's argument was that if the petitioner had been informed that he had not passed the examination in 1977, he would have not wasted his money and time in getting himself admitted in the Intermediate course. In substance, the plea raised by the petitioner is that of estoppel.
4. Before we deal with the arguments of the learned counsel for the petitioner on the question of estoppel, we consider it necessary to refer to some of the provisions of the U. P. Intermediate Education Act for deciding the controversy involved. Under Section 7 of the U. P. Intermediate Education Act, 1921, the Board has power amongst others to conduct the examination at the end of the High School and Intermediate course. The Board is entitled to frame regulations and to issue instructions from time to time needed for the successful holding of the examination. It has also got the power to prescribe the minimum marks which a student has to secure in order to be successful at the examination. In exercise of that power the Board has been issuing instructions from time to time. The relevant instruction with regard to a student offering General Science in the High School Examination is that he should pass in both the papers of the General Science. One of papers is that of theory whereas the other is practical. The marks allotted to the theory paper are 80 and the remaining 20 marks are for practical. In accordance with the instructions of the Board, every student has to obtain minimum 24 marks in theory and 6 marks in practical. But, however, further requirement is that the total marks of the two subjects should not be less than 33 per cent. The Board has power to allow some marks by way of grace. The relevant instruction issued on the question of grace applicable to a student of Science is as follows:--
5. From the above it would appear that the petitioner could be given three marks by way of grace in theory paper in which he had obtained less than required by regulation. Even if these three marks were added to the aforesaid paper, the petitioner could not pass the examination, inasmuch as for passing the examination, the minimum marks to be obtained by him were 24 whereas addition of three marks would have only made his marks as 22. In this way, it would be seen that the petitioner could not be declared passed in the High School Examination. The declaration, thus made in the first marks-sheet, issued to the petitioner, was obviously wrong. As a general rule, the party, claiming an estoppel must have acted on the belief induced by the other party. In the instant case, the petitioner knew that he had not passed.
6. Counsel for the petitioner, however, did not dispute the aforesaid position but contended that even if the petitioner could not be declared successful in the examination but since he had been so declared, the Board is estopped now from changing the result. The submission made is not acceptable to us. It would not be possible to enforce the representation against the Board because the Board cannot be compelled to act contrary to the statute. The Board did not confer the power to declare that the petitioner had passed the examination, The declaration made was thus against the power conferred upon it.
7. In Motilal Padampat Sugar Mills Co. Ltd. v. State of U. P. (AIR 1979 SC 621) the Supreme Court held that 'of course it may be pointed out that if the U. P. Sales Tax Act, 1948 did not contain a provision enabling the Government to grant exemption it would not be possible to enforce the representation against the Government, because the Government cannot be compelled to act contrary to the statute but since Section 4 of the U. P. Sales Tax Act, 1949 confers power on the Government to grant exemption from Sales Tax, the Government can legitimately, be held bound by its promise to exempt the appellant from the payment of Sales Tax.' In the above case the Supreme Court found that the principle of promissory estoppel would apply against the Government as well, but in a case like the present promissory estoppel cannot be taken advantage of If there would have been some technical deficiency or irregularity, the matter would have been different. But where the candidate is patently disentitled to be declared successful, the authorities may not be disentitled to correct the mistake. As a general thing, an act or representation made through innocent mistake is not a ground for estoppel. We, however, do not wish to lay down conclusively that in no case can mistake furnish the basis for an estoppel, hence we do not propose to deal with the matter, any further.
8. In the instant case, the Statute which empowered the Board to conduct the examination, did not contain any power to declare the petitioner successful. The regulations and rules framed thereunder also do not confer any discretion in the matter like the present. Whatever discretion had been given to the Board could be of no avail to the petitioner. Inasmuch as even if that discretion was exercised in his favour, the petitioner could not have passed the examination. As said in Maddison v. Alder-son, (1883) 8 AC 467, the courts of equity would not permit the statute to be made an instrument of fraud.
9. Strong reliance was placed by the learned counsel for the petitioner on the decision of the Supreme Court reported in Shri Krishan v. The Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra (AIR 1976 SC 376) in support of his argument that the Board was now estopped from changing the result of the petitioner. In this case Shri Krishan joined at the LL-B. Part I classes some time in 1971. According to the University Statute, a student of the Faculty of Law was given option to appear in certain subjects in which he may have failed at one of the examinations before completing the three years' course. The students were to appear in six papers each year. In April, 1972 the petitioner appeared in the annual examination of Part I but failed in three subjects. Subsequently he was promoted to Part II which he joined in 1972. Under the Statute the appellant was to appear in Part II Examination in April, 1973. On 26th April, 1973 the appellant applied for his roll number to the University in order to reappear in the subject in which he had failed. The annual examination for Part II was to commence on May, 1973. The appellant approached the University for granting him provisional permission to appear in the LL. B, Part II Examination. The appellant was refused the permission on the ground that since his percentage was short in Part I, his candidature stood cancelled. Thereupon the writ petition was filed and the same was dismissed by the High Court. Upon the dismissal of the writ petition, the matter was taken in appeal to the Supreme Court.
10. One of the pleas raised in defence by the University was that as the attendance of the appellant was short of the requisite percentage in LL. B. Part I, he could not insist on being admitted to Part II Examination. The Supreme Court did not accept the plea taken by the Kurukshetra University. It held that under the Statute, the University could withdraw the candidature of the petitioner for the LL. B. Part I Examination before the examination. Since this had not been done and the appellant was allowed to appear in the examination, rightly or wrongly, then the Statute which empowers the University to withdraw the candidature of the appellant had worked itself out and the appellant could not be refused admission subsequently nor any infirmity which should have been looked into before giving the appellant permission to appear.
11. It would be found that the Judgment of the Supreme Court turned on its own facts. In that case the Kurukshetra University did not have power to withdraw the candidature, hence the view taken in the said case is of no assistance to the petitioner in the present case. In Writ Petition No. 4045 of 1976 (Suresh Chandra Agarwal v. Kanpur University) decided on 23rd January, 1979 a Division Bench of this Court was called upon to apply the principle of Kurukshetra University case (supra). The Division Bench found that as the petitioner of that case had not passed B.A. Part I Examination, he was not entitled to appear at B.A. Part II Examination and as such his result had been rightly withheld, About the marks-sheet issued to him, the Division Bench found that the petitioner could not acquire any right on the basis of the marks-sheet that had been wrongly issued. In Writ Petn. No- 456 of 1976 (Indrapal Singh v. Governor of U. P.) decided on 24th January, 1979, the same Division Bench was called upon to consider a similar question. It found that as the petitioner of the said case was not entitled under Statute of the University to appear at the examination, he could not take any advantage of the mistake of the Superintendent of the Examination. The view taken further was that the University could not be precluded (sic) because of any unauthorised act on the part of the Superintendent of the Centre of Examination, The law laid down in these two cases applies with full force to the fact of the present case. Ran-bir Singh v. State of Punjab (AIR 1978 Punj and Har 109) relied upon by the learned counsel for the petitioner, is clearly distinguishable. In this case, the petitioner was admitted to the Medical College Amritsar in the year 1970. He completed the M.B.B.S. course as also internship training successfully. After completion of the entire education, his result was intended to he cancelled on the ground that the petitioner had obtained admission by fraud on the basis of the false certificate. Hon'ble A. N. Bains, J. held that it was not open to the Principal or any authority to say that the petitioner had obtained admission by fraud after expiry of such a long period. It was incumbent on the authorities to verify the correctness or falsity of the certificate at the time of admission or within a reasonable period. It would be seen that the decision of this case also turns to its own facts. It does not lay down any principle which could support petitioner's learned counsel.
12. For the reasons given above, we find that the petitioner is not entitled to any relief. The petition is, therefore, liable to be dismissed.
In the result, the writ petition fails and is dismissed. There will be no order as to costs, Interim stay order is vacated.