1. The petitioners, whotook the annual Intermediate Examination in Arts and Commerce, 1981 fromthe Adikabi Saraladas College Centre.Tirtol, have filed this writ applicationimpugning the notification dated 22-6-1981 (Annexure-2) issued by the UtkalUniversity cancelling the results of theexaminees who took the IntermediateExamination in Arts and Commerce fromthe said Centre.
2. The petitioners contend that after taking the examination they were waiting for the results to be published. But to their dismay, they learnt that the results had been cancelled on around that there was mass malpractice. They contend that there was intensive invigilation during the examination and proper supervision was made by the University by deputing teachers serving in the University and other colleges. There was no report before the University that the petitioners had indulged in any unfair means. The University was also not right in cancelling the results of all the examinees taking the examination from the centre, on the ground of mass malpractice. They further contend that the principle of natural justice has been violated as there was no enquiry into the allegations and that there was no material before the University for taking the drastic action,
3. Opposite party No. 1 in the counter-affidavit has averred that there were reports before the University from the Centre Superintendent and Supervisors to the effect that malpractice was resorted to in a vast scale. As the candidates as a whole did not follow the norms prescribed for the examination, the results of the examination were cancelled.
4. The law on this aspect is no longer in doubt. In Bihar School Examination Board v. Subhas Chandra (AIR 1970 SC 1269), Hidayatullah, C. J. observed (at pp. 1272-73) :
'Where the Bihar School Examination Board on being satisfied that a vast majority of the examinees at a particular centre have adopted unfair means, it is not necessary for the Board, before cancelling the examination as a whole at that centre, to give an opportunity to all the candidates to represent their cases. The Board had not charged any one with unfair means so that he could claim to defend himself. The examination was vitiated by adoption of unfair means on a mass scale. In these circumstances it would be wrong to insist that the Board must hold a detailed inquiry into the matter and examine each individual case to satisfy itself which of the candidates had not adopted unfair means. The examination as a whole had to go.
To make such decisions depend upon a full-fledged judicial inquiry wouldhold up the functioning of such autonomous bodies as Universities and School Boards, The Universities and School Boards are responsible for their standards and the conduct of examinations. The essence of the examinations is that the worth of every person is appraised without any assistance from an outside source. If at a centre the whole body of students receive assistanace and manage to secure success in the neighbourhood of 100% when others at other centres are successful only at an average of 50% it is obvious that the university or the Board must do something in the matter. It cannot hold a detailed quasi-judicial inquiry with a right to its alumni to plead and lead evidence etc. before the results are withheld or the examinations cancelled. If there is sufficient material on which it can be demonstrated ' that the university was right in its conclusion that the examinations ought to be cancelled then academic standards require that the university's appreciation of the problem must be respected. It would not do for the Court to say that you should have examined all the candidates or even their representatives with a view to ascertaining whether they had received assistance or not. To do this would encourage indiscipline if not also perjury.'
5. At our request, the learned counsel for the university placed before us the various reports submitted from time to time and the percentage of result. The reports reveal that unfair means was practised on an extensive scale and the percentage of result lends assurance, The reports indicate that there was total laxity in the examination halls. Outsiders had free access to the halls and the examination that was being conducted was a travesty.
It is gathered from the reports that (a) 'there was general disturbance'. (b) 'a large number of outsiders gathered near the windows in the last hour of the sitting and they threw papers and torn pages of books into the halls and dictated answered in loud voice. They were prevented from coming near the halls in the first two hours, but subsequently the situation became uncontrollable.' (c) 'outsiders were supplying incriminating materials to the candidates and dictating answers', (d) 'there was chaotic mass malpractice', (e) 'the examination halls were full of copymaterials and the candidates were using them. The halls were like 'Mella'.' (f) 'Incriminating materials were found every where in the rooms and also with all the candidates. Outsiders were entering into the rooms without hesitation. Almost all the candidates were found resorting to malpractice. They did not care for the invigilators'. (g) 'Lots of incriminating materials were found from under the long benches and desks of a large number of candidates. Outsiders (about a hundred in number) supplying hand written answers and torn pages of books to the candidates through windows. There was mass malpractice which could not be stopped even by persuasion. The candidates were talking with themselves in presence of the invigilators. General condition inside the examination halls-like a Mella and fish market.'
In the aforesaid premises, hardly can any course be contemplated other than the one adopted by the University of cancelling the results of the examination, Though, no doubt, it is true that selection of the centres and conducting of the examination in the centres are the responsibilities of the University, recourse) to large scale malpractice leaves no alternative to the University except to cancel the results of the examination.
6. The country can ill-afford to have a posterity of ignoramuses. The malady has spread so wide and so deep that it deserves consideration from educationists, guardians and the Government. Where the future of posterity is involved, procrastination is unwise and to lie by is insensible, Let not the elders contribute to the deterioration of standard and destruction of norms by their callousness.
7. The writ application has no merit and is dismissed. No costs.
R.N. Misra, C.J.
8. I agree. The concern my learned brother has expressed should be shared by all today so that we may look for a better tomorrow.