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Anand Kumar Nirwani Vs. Registrar, Punjab University - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ No.2365 of 1967
Judge
Reported inAIR1969P& H144
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226
AppellantAnand Kumar Nirwani
RespondentRegistrar, Punjab University
Appellant Advocate Harbans Lal, Adv.
Respondent Advocate N.K. Sodhi, Adv.
Cases ReferredUniversity of Ceylon v. Fernando
Excerpt:
.....disqualifying the petitioner for two years perfectly legal and within the jurisdiction of the answering-respondent. since it was found that these conditions had been satisfied, although certain statements had been recorded in the absence of the plaintiff and he had no opportunity of putting any question in cross-examination to the witnesses, it was held that the requirements of natural justice had been fulfilled. --the plaintiff might have fared better if the charge against him had been tried in accordance with the more meticulous procedure of a court of law, which would have included as of course the tendering of miss balasingham for cross-examination......been recorded in the absence of the plaintiff and he had no opportunity of putting any question in cross-examination to the witnesses, it was held that the requirements of natural justice had been fulfilled. the reason was indicated by their lordships towards the conclusion of the judgment in the following words:--'the plaintiff might have fared better if the charge against him had been tried in accordance with the more meticulous procedure of a court of law, which would have included as of course the tendering of miss balasingham for cross-examination. but that is not the question. the question is whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of this particular case, the mode of procedure adopted by the vice-chancellor, in bonato procedure reposed in him under clause 8, sufficiently.....
Judgment:

P.C. Jain, J.

1. This is a petition filed by Anand Kumar Nirwani under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution of India for the issuance of the writ of certiorari for quashing the order of the Punjab University dated 27th of September, 1967 disqualifying the petitioner for 1967 and 1968 (four sessions) under Regulation 12-C of the Punjab University Calendar, 1966 (Volume I).

2. The facts as alleged in the petition are that the petitioner joined the Law College of the Punjab University and appeared in the F.E.L. Examination held by the Punjab University in June, 1967, at University Centre, Chandigarh. The Roll No. of the petitioner for the said examination was 344. The petitioner appeared in the fourth paper relating to the Law of Torts and Indian Easements Act on 8th of June, 1967 and the paper was to start at 8 A.M. The petitioner got late by few minutes and when he reached the examination hall, the question paper had already been distributed. Consequently, the petitioner entered the examination hall in a hurry and forgot to leave outside the hall the three chits of papers on which some notes had been written for the purpose of refreshing his memory. After some time, the petitioner having started answering the question paper, took out his handkerchief from his pocket and in that process one of the three chits fell down on the ground from his pocket and it was then that he relised that he had not left those three chits outside the hall by mistake. The petitioner then picked up that chit and along with other two chits which he took out from his pocket handed them over to the Superintendent,. Examination Centre Voluntarily and this was done when the petitioner had just started answering the first question. According to the petitioner, the Superintendent had not objected and then any action and the petitioner continued to answer the paper as before. It was only about fifteen minutes before the expiry of th time when the Superintendent took away the first answer book and supplied the second answer book in which the petitioner attempted only parts of one or two questions. According to the petitioner throughout the examination he did not copy from or make use of the chits in answering the question paper nor those chits could be of any assistance to the petitioner in answering the question paper. The petitioner aslo reiterated his version as to how the chits had been brought in the examination hall inadvertently, to the Superintendent who recorded his statement a few minutes before the expiry of the time of the examination. ON 5th of July, 1967, the petitioner was served with a show-cause notice according to which he was accuse of having used unfair means and violating the Regulations 12-c and 13-b of the Punjab University Calendar, 1966. This notice was served on the basis of the report which was submitted by the supervisory staff against the petitioner alleging that the case was detected by the Superintendent of the Centre himself. By this notice, he was required by the Assistant Registrar to see the latter on 21st of July, 1967 at 9-30 A.M. in connection with the enquiry to be conducted by him on that day. On 21st of July, 1967, the petitioner was given a questionnaire consisting of twelve questions which were answered by the petitioner in writing and while giving reply to Question No.11, the petitioner specifically demanded that he wanted to cross-examine the Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent who had made false statements against him and that they should be called before the Standing Committee. Later on the petitioner was informed by letter dated 27th of September, 1967 (Annexure 'A') that he had been disqualified for 1967 and 1968 (four sessions) under Regulation 12-c at page 106 of the Punjab University Calendar, 1966 (Volume I ). The petitioner alleged that the order of the respondent regarding his disqualification was illegal and invalid as the charge of copying from the said chits under Regulation 13-b of the Regulation 12-c was neither proved nor established as the chits were not taken by the petitioner in the hall with a male fide intention and the possession of the same was due to inadvertence. It was asserted that principles of natural justice were offended as the statements of the Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent were not taken in his presence and he was afforded no opportunity to cross-examine them. It was also asserted that the impugned order was not a speaking order.

3. Shri Sujan Singh, Registrar, Punjab University, filed a return on behalf of the Punjab University, Chandigarh. All the allegations mentioned above were controvert and it was asserted that the order of the Respondent-University disqualifying the petitioner for two years perfectly legal and within the jurisdiction of the answering-respondent. It was emphatically denied that the petitioner was not given adequate opportunity to represent his case. It was asserted however, that the petitioner was not entitled under the law to cross-examine the Superintendent or the Deputy Superintendent of the Examination Centre and more so when no male fides were alleged against them. The standing Committee after considering the entire material on the record including the statements of the petitioner and the witnesses produced by him came to the unanimous conclusion that the petitioner should be disqualified for two years.

4. The only submission which the learned Counsel for the petitioner has made before us is that in the present case the principles of natural justice have been infringed as no opportunity was given to cross-examine the Superintendent and the Deputy Superintendent in spite of the fact that it was demanded and that in case the same had been afforded to him, he would have proved his innocence and bona fields. In support of his contention, the learned Counsel referred to a decision of R. S. Narula, J., in Aashok Kumar v. Punjab University, 1966 Cur LJ 241 (Punj) and the decision of P.D. Sharma. J., in Kirpal Singh v. The Vice Chancellor, 1967 Cur LJ 670 (Punj). Reference was also made by the learned Counsel to a decision in University of Ceylon v. Fernando, 1960-1 All ER 631. The learned Counsel on the strength of these authorities submitted that the Superintendent should have been examined in the presence of the petitioner and he should have been given an opportunity to cross-examine them. After considering this contention of the learned Counsel. I am of the view that there is no force in the same and none of these authorities is applicable to the facts of this case.

5. In Ashok Kumar's case, 1966 Cur LJ 241 (Punj) the contention raised in the present cads was not considered and the petition was allowed primarily on the ground that there was no evidence against the petitioner. Kirpal Singh's case, 1967 Cur LJ 670 (Punj) was decided on the peculiar facts of that case as would be clear from the following observations of P.D. Sharma, J.:

'In view of the peculiar circumstances of that two cases, the Superintendent Shri Vishwa Mitter and Shri Nahar Singh, Deputy Superintendent should have been examined before the petitioner by Mr. Verma or the Standing Committee and the two petitioners should also have been afforded an opportunity to cross-examine them.'

The University of Ceylon's case 1960-1 All ER 631 too does not help the petitioner; rather it goes against him. According to this decision, the two essential requirements are that a person should have been adequately informed of the case he has to meet and he should be afforded an equally adequate opportunity of stating or presenting his case. Since it was found that these conditions had been satisfied, although certain statements had been recorded in the absence of the plaintiff and he had no opportunity of putting any question in cross-examination to the witnesses, it was held that the requirements of natural justice had been fulfilled. The reason was indicated by their Lordships towards the conclusion of the judgment in the following words:--

'The plaintiff might have fared better if the charge against him had been tried in accordance with the more meticulous procedure of a Court of Law, which would have included as of course the tendering of Miss Balasingham for cross-examination. But that is not the question. The question is whether, on the facts and in the circumstances of this particular case, the mode of procedure adopted by the vice-chancellor, in bonato procedure reposed in him under clause 8, sufficiently complied with the requirements of natural justice. In their Lordships' opinion it has not been shown to have fallen short of those requirements.'

In the case before us, however, the petitioner was caught red-handed with hand-written chit which was found under his answer book and the same was detected by the Superintendent and on his search two other chits were also recovered from his pocket. These chits contained the matter which was relevant to the subject in which the petitioner was appearing on that date. The explanation of the petitioner was immediately taken by the Superintendent on the spot. It was not denied by the petitioner that these chits were not his hand-writing and were not recovered from his. The entire material consisting of the chits, the explanation of the petitioner, the report of the Superintendent, and the evidence led by the petitioner was considered by the Standing Committee. Even personal hearing was granted by the Standing Committee to the petitioner. It was then that the Standing Committee unanimously found the petitioner guilty of violating Regulation 12-c of the Punjab University Calendar 1966 (Volume I) and decided to disqualify him for a period of two years. It cannot as a general rule be laid down that in each and every case, the candidate as a matter of right on his mere asking is entitled to a right of cross-examination. It will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case whether the rule of natural justice has been complied with by the University authorities by affording an adequate opportunity to a candidate to present his case against him. On the facts and in the circumstances of this particular case, it cannot be said that by examine the Superintendent the principles of natural justice have been infringed or any prejudice is caused to the petitioner.

6. In this view of the matter, there is no force in this petition and the same is dismissed with costs.

7. D.K. Mahajan, J.

I agree.

8. Petition Dismissed.


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