R.C. Patnaik, J.
1. In this application under Article 226 of the Constitution the petitioner seeks the quashing of the decision of the Syndicate dt. 30-9-82 requiring her to pass the Intermediate of Arts examination for admission to the Bachelor of Arts examination of the University and for a mandamus to the opposite party No. 1 to admit her to the Bachelor of Arts Examination.
2. The petitioner took the Intermediate of Arts examination from the Bhadrak Evening College in the year 1982, her optional subjects were Oriya Economics and Political Science. English and M.I.L (Oriya) were the compulsory subjects. In due course the result was published and she was declared to have passed the said examination. She obtained mark-sheet from her college on 10-6-82 and a provisional certificate from the University on 6-9-82 to that effect. The college leaving certificate was granted to her on 20-6-82. Both in the college leaving certificate and in the provisional certificate she was shown to have passed the Intermediate examination in Arts. On the basis thereof she got herself admitted to the Bachelor of Arts course in the Bhadrak Evening College. In Sept. 1982, she was informed by the college authority that she should discontinue her studies because she had not passed the Intermediate Arts examination having secured only 56 marks' in Economics instead of 60 marks the pass marks. The petitioner has averred that she had pointed out that either 56 was a wrong entry or she was declared to have passed by application of the Hard Case Rules. She informed the University about this and was intimated that she could continue her studies in the B.A. course but would not be admitted to the B.A. examination unless she cleared the Intermediate examination. The petitioner has alleged that even thereafter she obtained a provisional certificate from the University on 29-1-83 wherein she was certified to have passed the Intermediate Arts examination of 1982.
3. In the circumstances the petitioner has prayed that the University be estopped from reversing the course by requiring her to pass the Intermediate examination and preventing her from taking the B.A. examination. On the representation of the University she got herself admitted to the B.A. course and was studying in the final year. It has further been averred that the decision of the Syndicate dt 30-9-82 as conveyed to the petitioner under Annexure 5 was without jurisdiction.
4. The college has not filed a return. The University in the counter-affidavit has taken the stand that the petitioner had in fact secured 44 marks in English, the pass marks being 60. In Economics she had secured 56 marks, the pass marks being 60. In aggregate she had secured 306 marks, the pass marks being 315. So, she had failed in two subjects and also in the aggregate. It has been stated that the University directed the tabulators to take a liberal view and apply the Hard Case Rules wherever that was applicable. The tabulators erroneously applied the Hard Case Rules to the case of the petitioner though her case was not covered by them The marks secured by the petitioner in English were raised to 60 and the aggregate to 322 but the marks secured by her in Economics remained in tact. Indisputably she had also failed in Economics. In no event, therefore, the petitioner could have been declared to have passed the LA. examination of 1982. The mistake committed by the tabulators went undetected. The Syndicate on the recommendation of the Conducting Board declared the petitioner to have passed the examination. The University has averred that the Hard Case Rules were not applicable to her and the mark-sheet supplied by the University indicated that the petitioner had failed in Economics. Hence, the declaration that the petitioner had passed the examination was a mistake. In view thereof the rule of estoppel did not operate against the University and the mistake could be corrected and the petitioner could be asked to take the Intermediate examination afresh. The University, however, showed a special favour by permitting the petitioner to continue her B.A. studies though she had not passed the I.A. examination and required the petitioner to clear the I.A. examination so that she could be admitted to the B.A. Examination.
5. The University has further averred that it was discovered after publication of the results that mistakes had been committed during tabulation. A fresh tabulator was appointed He found that the petitioner had been erroneously declared to have passed. The result already published was revised on 27-8-82. The Tabulation Register which was maintained in the Examination General Section IV had not been corrected. The same was corrected on 20-8-83. The second provisional certificate certifying the petitioner to have passed was issued on 29-1-83 before the correction of the Register. It has further been pleaded that had the college authorities properly scrutinised the marks secured by the petitioner, the mistake could have been detected. The University has annexed a copy of an application purported to have been made by the petitioner giving an undertaking to pass the I.A. examination.
6. The petitioner has refuted the genuineness of the said application. She has asserted that at no point of time she had given any undertaking. She had written to the University only to ascertain whether she had been declared to have passed by application of the Hard Case Rules and whether the stand taken by the college authorities was unfounded.
7. The short question is: In the facts and circumstances should we bind the University down to its declaration as in Annexures 2(a) and 2(2) or the petitioner should be required to take the Intermediate examination in Arts afresh?
8. The University has pleaded mistakes by the tabulator, by the Conducting Board and by the Syndicate itself. Even though it is stated that the correction was made on 27-8-82, the second provisional certificate was granted to the petitioner on 29-1-83 certifying that she had passed the examination. When mistakes abound and the petitioner acting on the declaration/representation made by the University got herself admitted to the Bachelor of Arts course, is it fair that she be now asked to take the Intermediate examination in Arts? She did not hope to be a topper. She was of below average attainments. When the results were declared she must have heaved a sigh of relief that she could scrape through. Might be she did not scrutinise the marks secured by her, it could as well be that she thought that she was declared to have passed by the application of the Hard Case Rules. When under a mistake the tabulators applied the Hard Case Rules to her case and the mistake escaped the Conducting Board and the Syndicate and the College authorities admitted her to the B.A. course in the face of the marks secured by her, could one blame the petitioner that she did not discover that she had failed at the Intermediate Arts examination. She has averred that when the college authorities raised the objection later on she asserted that the Hard Case Rules had been applied to her. There is no material from which we can infer that she was actuated by any mala fides or had deliberately suppressed any fact within her knowledge. She presented the certificate and the mark-sheet to the college authorities and was admitted.
9. The decision of the Syndicate dt 30-9-82 goes to indicate that the Syndicate was sympathetic They realised that the petitioner had been misled by the declaration/representation of the University and had been placed in a very difficult and embarrassing position. So they allowed her to continue the B.A. course and required her to pass the Intermediate Arts examination before taking the Bachelor of Arts examination.
10. There cannot be a better case for the application of the rule of estoppel. In this view we are fortified by two decisions of this Court in (Smt.) Gita Mishra v. Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, ILR (1971) Cut 242 : (AIR 1971 Orissa 276) and Naba Kishore Gadapalla v. Utkal University, ILR (1978) 1 Cut 78 : (AIR 1978 Orissa 65).
11. In the result we quash the decision of the Syndicate dt. 30-9-82 as communicated by the Controller of Examinations under Annexure 5. In normal course, the petitioner would have taken the Annual Bachelor of Arts examination, 1984 had she not been prevented from doing so by Annexure 7. Since it is no more possible for her to take the annual examination, we direct opposite party No. 1 to permit the petitioner to take the Supplementary Bachelor of Arts Examination, 1984. There would be no order as to costs.
B.K. Behera, J.
12. I agree.