J.K. Tandon, J.
1. The petitioner was a student of Agra University and passed his B, A. Part I examination from the University in the year 1953-54 from Agra College Agra. Ho pursued his studies in B. A. Part II in 1956-57 and also appeared in April 1957 for the final examination. He appeared at all the papers intended for the examination but his result was withheld and in July, 1957 he was informed by the University that his examination had been cancelled and he had also been debarred from appearing at the examination of the University for the year 1958 as he used unfair means in the examination held in 1957.
The facts leading to the cancellation of his examination as well as to his disqualification for appearing in the examination in 1958 were that during the examination of 1957 the invigilator on duty at the examination centre where the petitioner had been allotted his seat found from his possession a certain paper from which he was found to be copying. This chit was taken possession of by the invigilator who also asked the petitioner to give his statement with respect to it but he (the petitioner) declined to do so.
This last fact is not admitted by the petitioner, namely, that he had been asked to make statement and he declined, but the affidavit filed on behalf of the opposite party contains an averment to that effect and there is no reason why that statement should not be accepted. After the invigilator had taken possession of the chit and also asked the petitioner as aforesaid, the chit along with his own report was sent to the University which in due course made enquiries from the examiner also.
The examiner reported in the affirmative to the effect that the candidate appeared to have made use of the writing on the chit. The chit had on it answers to the first two questions written. The examiner's report and the report of the invigilator and other papers were ultimately placed before the Vice Chancellor who decided that the petitioner's examination result of B.A. Part II be cancelled and that he be further debarred from appearing in the University examination of 1958.
Admittedly, no opportunity was given to the petitioner to explain the conduct imputed to him by the Vice Chancellor when making the above order against him. The petitioner has accordingly moved this petition asking a writ of certiorari quashing the order aforesaid by the Vice Chancellor on the ground that it infringed the principles of natural justice inasmuch as no opportunity was given to him to explain his conduct or to meet the allegations imputed to him. On behalf of the University it is not admitted that an opportunity to explain his conduct was not allowed to the petitioner.
The University relies on the fact that the Assistant Superintendent of Examinations Agra College had at the time of the recovery of the chit from the petitioner's possession asked him to give a statement which however he declined hence it is said that an opportunity was given to him but he himself did not avail of it.
2. The order passed by the Vice Chancellor cancelling the petitioner's examination and debarring him from the examination of 1958 was an ' administrative order is not disputed. Tlie petitioner's contention nevertheless is that even administrative orders when they have far reaching effects on the rights and careers of individuals as in the present case, it is obligatory on the authority making the order to observe the rules of natural justice and not condemn a man without giving him an opportunity of being heard.
There can be no doubt that the cancellation of the petitioner's examination of 1957 and debarring him from the examination of 1958 will affect his education and career in several ways. It is not necessary to state the various disadvantages to which he may become subject thereby as Dr. Asthana appearing for the other side has not challenged this part of the petitioner's case. The main answer on which the University has taken its stand is that an opportunity was given to the petitioner soon after the chit was recovered from his possession and, if no explanation was before the Vice Chancellor when he made the order, the fault lay with the petitioner himself.
It does appear that the petitioner was asked by the Assistant Superintendent of Examinations to make a statement and he declined. I do not for a moment doubt this fact but the question may further arise whether tins conduct of the petitioncr satisfied the requirements of natural justice which obliged the party making the order to give an opportunity to the other party of being heard, It is not clear from the affidavit filed on behalf of the University whether any facts were placed by the Assistant Superintendent before the petitioner or his attention invited to any answers etc. contained in his answer book and to the writings found on the chit.
The nature of explanation asked from him is thus not clear. All that one knows is that he was asked to make a statement which he declined.
3. After this the Assistant Superintendent prepared his report, sent it to the authorities concerned who in their turn obtained the comments of the examiner also. There is no suggestion that the petitioner was at any subsequent time acquainted with the report of the Assistant Superintendent or of the comments from the examiner. The Vice Chancellor in making his order debarring the petitioner as aforesaid obviously based his decision on these reports.
No doubt, he must have been guided in that also by the fact that the petitioner had declined to make statement when asked but that fact is, to my mind, of little avail in this case firstly, because one does not know what was the nature of explanation then asked and, secondly, because an opportunity to be heard can be said to be such an opportunity only where the material against the person is disclosed to him. Neither the examiner's comments,nor the report of the Assistant Superintendent, wasever communicated to the petitioner.
The so called opportunity given by the Assistant Superintendent at the time of discovery of the chit cannot thus be said to be an opportunity which will meet the requirements of natural justice. Theorder passed by the Vice Chancellor must under the circumstances be held to have been passed ex parte. It infringed the rules of natural justice and therefore cannot be sustained.
4. In view of the findings that no opportunity was given to the petitioner before making the order but one was necessary, the order of the Vice Chancellor, a copy whereof is Annexure A, must be quashed and I order accordingly. I however make no order as to costs.