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Jogendra Raj Kishore Vs. University of Allahabad and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 127 of 1956
Judge
Reported inAIR1956All503
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 32 and 226; Allahabad University Act, 1921 - Sections 9 and 12
AppellantJogendra Raj Kishore
RespondentUniversity of Allahabad and ors.
Appellant AdvocateZ.H. Kazmi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateJ. Swarup, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....entitled to any relief under article 226 of constitution of india for quashing the order of the vice chancellor. - - the activities of the petitioner during that period made him liable for strong disciplinary action but the vice-chancellor sent a letter to sri brijraj kishore, father of the petitioner, on 17-10-1955 in which he asked him to convey to the petitioner a strong warning so that when he came back in november to the university, he should show better behaviour in keeping good discipline in the university. on 4-11-1955, the petitioner made an application to the registrar, allahabad university for his readmission on the rolls and the said application was recommended by mr. from the document filed by the counsel for the university, it appears that on 4-11-1955, the assistant..........student of ll.b. (previous) of the allahabad university. on 11-11-1955 he received a letter of the vice-chancellor of the said university, signed by the assistant registrar of the university, expelling him from the university with immediate effect for gross misconduct. it is alleged by the petitioner that he made several efforts to approch the vice-chancellor and the assistant registrar to ascertain the nature of the gross misconduct for which he had been expelled but he was not informed of the same.a written representation was then, according to the petitioner, submitted by him to the vice-chancellor and several reminders were subsequently made by him but he received no reply to the said representation. the order expelling the petitioner had been communicated to various universities and.....
Judgment:

Mehrotra, J.

1. This is a petition under Article 226 of Constitution.

2. The facts giving rise to this petition briefly are that the petitioner had been a student of LL.B. (Previous) of the Allahabad University. On 11-11-1955 he received a letter of the Vice-Chancellor of the said University, signed by the Assistant Registrar of the University, expelling him from the University with immediate effect for gross misconduct. It is alleged by the petitioner that he made several efforts to approch the Vice-Chancellor and the Assistant Registrar to ascertain the nature of the gross misconduct for which he had been expelled but he was not informed of the same.

A written representation was then, according to the petitioner, submitted by him to the Vice-Chancellor and several reminders were subsequently made by him but he received no reply to the said representation. The order expelling the petitioner had been communicated to various Universities and the Public Service Commission with the result that the doors of educational institutions have been closed for ever for the petitioner.

The petitioner has further alleged that the order has been passed by the Vice-Chancellor due to personal prejudice and disliking for him. On these facts, the petitioner has, therefore, prayed for a writ of certiorari to quash the order of the Vice-Chancellor dated 11-11-1955.

3. In this petition, the University of Allahabad, the Vice-Chancellor of the Allahabad University, Mr. B.N. Jha, Vice-Chancellor, in his personal capacity and Dr. I.D. Caleb, Assistant Registrar of the University of Allahabad have been impleaded as opposite parties. Notices were served on them and a counter-affidavit has been filed by the assistant Registrar, opposite party No. 4.

4. In the counter-affidavit it is alleged that in the year 1955 it was noticed that the petitioner had joined certain students who had been rusticated on account of their activities which were considered subversive to the discipline of the University during the disturbances in September, 1955, when one of them had started hunger strike. The petitioner is alleged to have been found delivering speeches against the University authorities and inciting other students by shouting indecent slogans in these speeches.

The activities of the petitioner during that period made him liable for strong disciplinary action but the Vice-Chancellor sent a letter to Sri Brijraj Kishore, father of the petitioner, on 17-10-1955 in which he asked him to convey to the petitioner a strong warning so that when he came back in November to the University, he should show better behaviour in keeping good discipline in the University.

It is further stated in the counter-affidavit that on 10-11-1955, the petitioner made a speech, in the presence of Sri D.D. Khanna, Sri T.D. Tiwari, and Sri B.M. Singh, Junior Proctors, in the course of which he made certain remarks and accusations against the Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor. Some of these remarks which the petitioner is alleged to have made during the course of his speech, are quoted in para. 6 of the counter-affidavit.

A report was submitted by the proctors to the Vice-Chancellor in which the remarks made by the petitioner in his speech and the undignified language used by him were brought to the notice or the Vice-Chancellor and on the report of the prosecutors the Vice-Chancellor passed an order on 11-11-1955 as follows:

'Previous warning has had no effect. Disciplinary action is taken against him therefore and he is hereby expelled from the University and not to be re-admitted.'

After this order, the Assistant Registrar issued a notice notifying that the petitioner had been expelled from the University with immediate effect for gross misconduct and was not to be re-admitted in the University. It is denied in the counter-affidavit that the petitioner approached the Assistant Registrar after he had received notice of expulsion and he had asked him to see the Vice-Chancellor. It is also denied that the petitioner had at any time approached the Vice-Chancellor in this connection.

It is further stated in the counter-affidavit that no letter had been received in the University sent by the petitioner containing his representation. At the time of admission, every student is given 'a pamphlet entitled 'You and the Proctor' containing proctorial rules and regulations in which the student is warned not to misbehave. Besides the above warning, another warning had been given to the petitioner by the Vice-Chancellor in the letter referred to above sent to the father of the petitioner.

In view of the convention observed by all the Universities, a notice of the order of expulsion was sent to various educational institutions but it is stated that there is no bar to any other University admitting the petitioner. The counter-affidavit denies the statement of the petitioner that the order issued by the Vice-Chancellor was due to his personal prejudice and perverse disliking and it is asserted that the Vice-Chancellor took the disciplinary action after fully considering the report made by the proctors in whose presence the petitioner had indulged in uttering abusive language.

5. A rejoinder affidavit has been filed by the petitioner in which he has stated that he was a student of the LL.B. (Previous) Classes only up to the end of October, 1955 and sometime about that date but before 4-11-1955, the petitioner was removed from the rolls of the University, on account of non-payment of the fees due to financial difficulties.

On 4-11-1955, the petitioner made an application to the Registrar, Allahabad University for his readmission on the rolls and the said application was recommended by Mr. K.K. Bhattacharya, Dean of the Faculty of Law. On the same date, the Assistant Registrar (Accounts) wrote a note on the back of the application -- 'V. C. The name may be restored on the rolls on the usual conditions.' This application was taken by the petitioner to the Vice-Chancellor for his final sanction but he asked him to come the next day. The petitioner tried to contact the Vice-Chancellor twice or thrice but was unable to do so.

It is then stated that the remarks alleged to have been made by the petitioner in his speech are not correctly reported. The petitioner asserts that he did make a speech but he made efforts in the speech to bring reconciliation between the authorities and the students. He' then states that he came to know of the letter sent to his father only on 13-2-1956 when he went to Biswan, his father's place. Letters of similar nature Had been sent to all the guardians and this letter should not be regarded as any warning to the petitioner.

The order of the Vice-Chancellor is challenged on two grounds: Firstly, it is contended by the petitioner that on the date, when the order was passed, he was not a student of the University and consequently the Vice-Chancellor had no jurisdiction to pass the said order, and, secondly, it is contended that the order was passed by the Vice-Chancellor without making any inquiry into the matter and without giving him an opportunity to show cause against the misconduct alleged against him and consequently the order was illegal and must be quashed.

6. The counsel for the University, however, contended in the course of arguments that the petitioner was a student of the University on the date when the Vice-Chancellor passed the order expelling him from the University and as such the order was not without jurisdiction. As th'e point was raised in the rejoinder affidavit filed by the petitioner, the counsel for the University prayed for leave to file a true copy of a certain order passed by the Vice-Chancellor on a report of the Assistant Registrar regarding the students whose dues were in arrears for three months, on 4-11-1995.

7. In order to appreciate the first contention of the petitioner, it is necessary to refer to some of the provisions of the Ordinances framed under the Allahabad University Act, 1921. Ordinance 13, Chap. XXVII of the Ordinance is as follows :

'If the fees or any fine due from a student remain unpaid for three months after the due date of payment his name shall be removed from the Register of students of the University, and such removal shall be notified to the Head of the Department concerned and also on the Notice Board.'

Ordinance 14 provides as follows :

'The lectures, if any, attended by a student after the due date of payment and until the end of the third month, shall be counted only if the fee and fines are paid. If the due amount is not paid at the end of three months after the due date of payment, his name shall be struck off by the Registrar and he shall not be readmitted during the session, except by the special order' of the Vice-Chancellor.'

The effort of these Ordinances is that if the fee remains unpaid for three months after the due date, the name of the student, who is in arrears, has to be removed from the Register of students. As the due data of payment may sometimes fall in the middle of a month, it is further provided that if the necessary dues are paid by the end of the month after the due date, they may be accepted, if paid along with the fine, and the attendance of the student may be counted, but if the amount remains unpaid till the end of the month, the name of the student concerned will be struck off by the Registrar.

In the present case, it is admitted by the petitioner that he was in arrears for three months up to the end of October 1955 and consequently his name was struck off the rolls. He applied for re-admission and his application had not till then been considered by the Vice-Chancellor. According to the petitioner himself, therefore, on 11-11-1955, when the Vice-Chancellor passed the order expelling him, he was not a student of the University.

Under Article 226 of the Constitution, the High Court has power to issue to any person or authority directions, orders or writs including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, or any of them for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III and for any other purpose.

The words 'for any other purpose' in the Article have got to be construed in the context of what precedes the same. These words necessarily imply 'for the enforcement of any other right.' The foundation for the exercise of powers under Article 226 of the Constitution is the existence of a right in the petitioner and in the absence of any such right possessed by the petitioner, the High Court cannot grant any relief to the petitioner under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Reference may be made to the case of --'State of Orissa v. Madan Gopal : [1952]1SCR28 . If the contention of the petitioner is accepted that on the date when the Vice-Chancellor passed the order, he had ceased to be a student of the University, he has no right which entitles him to ask this Court to exercise its discretion to issue a writ of certiorari quashing the order passed by the Vice-Chancellor.

Even if it be conceded that a student has a right to continue his studies in the University, the petitioner, on the date, when the order was passed by the Vice-Chancellor, possessed no such right which he could seek to enforce by means-of a writ of certiorari under Article 226 of the Constitution. Under Ordinance 14, referred to above, after the name of a student has been struck off the rolls, it is open by a special order, to the Vice-Chancellor to readmit him, but the petitioner has no right to claim the relief of certiorari quashing the order of the Vice-Chancellor.

From the document filed by the counsel for the University, it appears that on 4-11-1955, the Assistant Registrar had put up a note before the .Registrar to the effect that as the University was closed for the full month of October and the students had to leave for their homes they could not deposit the fee for the month of August, September and October and consequently the names of all such students stood automatically removed from the rolls, that will lead to great hardship to the students and consequently it was recommended that, as a special case, the names of such students whose names were to be struck off for non-payment of dues from 1-11-1955, may be removed from 1-12-1955.

The Registrar submitted it for orders to the Vice-Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor approved of the suggestion. But it does not appear that so far as the petitioner was concerned, his name, in view of the approval of the Vice-Chancellor to the suggestion, was actually struck off the rolls from the 1st of December. His name had already been struck off in the beginning of November and consequently the petitioner cannot take advantage of this order.

In our opinion, therefore, on the petitioner's own admission that he was not a student of the University on the date when the order expelling him was passed and even on the date when he made the application in this Court as there is no allegation that his application for re-admission has since been accepted by the Vice-Chancellor, he is not entitled to any relief under Article 226 of the Constitution for quashing the order of the Vice-Chancellor.

8. Even assuming that the petitioner had a right to come to this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution as his application for re-admission may be deemed to have been pending on that date, in our opinion, there is no force in the second contention raised by the petitioner. Section 9, Allahabad University Act, 1921 lays down that the Vice-Chancellor shall be one of the officers of the University. Section 12 of the Act lays down the powers and the duties of the Vice-Chancellor and in Sub-section (2) of the said section it is provided that--

'It shall be the duty of the Vice-Chancellor to see that this Act, the Statutes and the Ordinances are faithfully observed, and he shall have all powers necessary for this purpose.'

In Chapter XXII of the Statute it is provided that the Vice-Chancellor shall be responsible for maintaining discipline in the University and he shall have all powers necessary for that purposes

It is, therefore, clear from the perusal or these provisions that the Vice-Chancellor is the executive head of the University and is primarily responsible for the maintenance of discipline among the students of the University. For the purpose of maintaining such discipline, he is possessed of all the necessary powers and he oan, therefore, expel students from the University for that purpose.

9. The first question to be considered is whether, when the Vice-Chancellor exercises his powers under the Statute, referred to above, and takes action against a student, does he act judicially and is his decision liable to be quashed under the supervisory jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution? There is nothing in the Statute which casts any duty upon the Vice-Chancellor to act judicially.

The test for coming to the conclusion whether the decision of an authority is of quasi-judicial nature or of an administrative character has been fully laid down by their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case of -- 'Province of Bombay v. Khushaldas S. Advani : [1950]1SCR621 . Applying that test, it cannot be said in the present case that there was any duty cast upon the Vice-Chancellor to act judicially under the Statute.

There is nothing express in the Statute which enjoins upon the Vice-Chancellor to give a hearing to a student before taking any action against him in the exercise of his disciplinary jurisdiction or to give him any opportunity to explain his conduct on which he proposes to take action against him.

It has been contended by the petitioner that on the principle of natural justice it is necessary that before any one is condemned for his action, the should be given an opportunity to be heard. The obligation to give an opportunity to the person condemned to explain his conduct has, therefore, to be implied even when an authority is acting administratively. Particular reference was made in this connection to the following passage in the case of -- 'Local Government Board v. Arlidge', 1915 AC 120 (C) :

'Whether the order of the local Government Board is to be regarded as of an administrative or of a quasi-judicial character appears to me not to bo of much importance, since, if the order is one which affects the rights and property of the respondent, the respondent is 'entitled to have the matter determined in a judicial spirit, in accordance with the principle of substantial justice.'

In the case of -- 'General Council of Medical Education and Registration of United Kingdom v. Spackman', 1943 AC G27 (D), Lord Wright observed that the phrase 'contrary to natural justice' implied at least two concepts, (1) that the tribunal should be impartial and (2) that the party to be affected is given a full and fair opportunity of being heard.

In the case of -- 'Rameshwar Prasad v. District Magistrate : AIR1954All144 , Mootham J., (as he then was) held that whether the licensing authority acted quasi-judicially or ministerially, the general principle applied that 'a man be not deprived of his property without being heard' and that the same principle applied where the loss of a man's right to carry on business is concerned.

The distinction, therefore, between a quasi-judicial and an administrative order is of little importance so far as the application of the principle of natural justice is concerned. All these cases only go to the extent that if a person's right to a property or to carry on a business is affected by any order, though passed by an authority administratively, the person whose right has been affected must be given an opportunity to be heard.

In cases where an order is passed by an executive authority in the exercise of its power to maintain discipline, the position is entirely different. The case of -- 'Nakkuda Ali v. M. F. De S. Jayaratne', 1951 AC 66 (F), was distinguished by Mootham J., (as he then was). In case of Nakkuda Ali a licence was cancelled by the Controller of Textiles in Ceylon under regulation 62 or the Defence (Control of Textiles) Regulations, 1945 which empowered him to do so 'where the Controller has reasonable grounds to believe that any dealer is unfit, to be allowed to continue as a dealer'.

It was held by the Judicial Committee that the Controller was not under a duty to give notice to the licensee and to hear him before he cancelled the licence. The decision in that case was based upon two grounds, first, that the Controller was merely taking executive action to withdraw a 'privilege' and, second, that under the special terms of the regulation the only condition for the exercise of the power vested in the Controller was that he had reasonable grounds to believe that the holder was unfit to retain the licence.

Apart from the cases in which special provision of a Statute may obviate the necessity ot hearing the aggrieved party, there is another exception to the general rule that 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 acts 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 is necessarily to be quick and immediate lest one bad example may corrupt others.

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 bonafide. In the case, of -- 'Dipa Pal v. University of Calcutta : AIR1952Cal594 , it was observed by Bose J., as follows:

'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.'

In that case, however, a distinction was drawn between the cases where indiscipline was detected by the invigilators in the examination hall and the cases where on the examination of answer books the examiners entertained suspicion about adoption of unfair means and it was held that in the latter case an opportunity should be given to the candidate concerned to explain his conduct before any action is taken against him.

From an examination of all these authorities, therefore, it is clear 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 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.

In the present case, the Vice-Chancellor passed the order expelling the petitioner from the university and acted upon the report of the proctors. According to the counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the University, it is clear that the junior proctors, who were present in the meeting addressed by the petitioner, reported to the Vice-Chancellor the actual words used by the petitioner and if it is correct that those expressions were used by the petitioner, that certainly amounted to gross misconduct on the part of the petitioner.

Consequently, the Vice-Chancellor, in acting upon the report made by the proctors, cannot be said to have acted beyond his jurisdiction. The Vice-Chancellor could have had no reason to disbelieve the report of the proctors. Having accepted the report of the proctors, the necessary result is that the petitioner has been expelled from the University for having committed gross misconduct in the presence of the proper officers and the decision of the Vice-Chancellor was not based on mere suspicion as regards any conduct of the petitioner.

The petitioner in the rejoinder affidavit has denied the allegations made on behalf of the University about the use of certain expressions by him in his speech. He has admitted that he had delivered his speech but, according to him, the substance of his speech was to bring about reconciliation between the University authorities and the students.

It is not for this Court to investigate into the truth or otherwise of the allegations made by the parties with regard to the actual words used by the petitioner in his speech but in the circumstances in which the Vice-Chancellor passed the order on receipt of the report by the proctors, it cannot be said that he acted beyond his jurisdiction.

It has been complained by the petitioner that he was not given a copy of the report made by the proctors to the Vice Chancellor. There is nothing in the Statutes or the Act which entitles him to get a copy as a matter of right. The petitioner has further complained that he was not given any opportunity to meet the Vice-Chancellor and that he had sent a written representation to the Vice-Chancellor which was never replied to by him.

On behalf of the University it is contended that representation was never received in the office of the University. Even if the contention of the petitioner that such a representation had been sent is accepted, in the view which we have expressed above, it was not necessary in the circumstances of the case for the Vice-Chancellor so give an opportunity to the petitioner to explain his conduct and there was no violation of any principle of natural justice.

10. In our opinion, therefore, there is noforce in this petition and it is rejected. We makeno order as to costs.


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