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Sunil Kant Vs. the Kurukshetra University and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petn. No. 5198 of 1975
Judge
Reported inAIR1977P& H375
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; Kurukshetra University Calendar, 1970 - Ordinance 28
AppellantSunil Kant
RespondentThe Kurukshetra University and ors.
Appellant Advocate A.S. Nehra, Adv.
Respondent Advocate J.L. Gupta, Adv.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredRamesh Kapur v. Punjab University
Excerpt:
.....by a single judge in exercising powers of superintendence under article 227 of the constitution. - he could order re-investigation if he was satisfied that had the new facts been before the committee, the same might have induced it to come to a decision other than the one arrived by it. but the impugned order, annexure p/4, clearly shows that the vice-chancellor after going through the writ petition, earlier filed in this court by the petitioner, suo motu remanded the case for re-investigation by the committee which is not warranted by the ordinance or the statute. hence, i have no hesitation in holding that the order, annexure p/4 of the vice-chancellor ordering 'reinvestigation of the petitioner's case is clearly beyond his jurisdiction and quash the same......august, 1975 in which notice of motion was issued for 18th of september, 1975. respondent no. 3, vice-chancellor, after going through the writ petition, ordered reinvestigation of the case under para. 9 of the ordinance 28, and remanded the case of the petitioner to the unfair means committee vide order, dated 9th rollno.enrolmentno.name ofthe candidatename ofthe collegeperiodof disqualification.875474-ch-463sunilkantgovt.college, hissar.disqualifiedfrom passing the exam. held in april/may, 1975.10337 kurukshetra.74-ch-432july 2, 1975.'sudhirsharma-do--do- kurukabatra, july 2. 1975.' september, 1975 (annexure p/4) which is reproduced below: 'today i have gone through the writ petition filed by sunil kant and i have also gone through the record. i have found that the superintendent of.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Ajit Singh Bains, J.

1. The petitioner appeared in Pre-Medical Examination held in April/ May, 1975 from Government College, Hissar, as a regular student. The petitioner's paper in Zoology was held on 23rd of April, 1975 at Hissar Government College. At about 9.25 a.m. when the petitioner was doing his paper, Superintendent of the Examination called him and told him that some printed papers had been recovered by the members of the Flying Squad. The statement of the petitioner was recorded by the Superintendent which is as follows:--

'These papers were lying on the floor near my seat and I was busy in doing my work. I have not taken help from these papers. I have signed these papers on the asking of the Superintendent though these papers have not been recovered from my possession. I do not know who has thrown these papers. I have not taken help from these papers.'

2. The Superintendent, under the verbal directions of the Flying Squad, reported the matter to the Registrar in writing and a show cause notice (Annexure P/l) was issued to the petitioner on 14th May, 1975, which is as follows:--

'Subject: Use of unfair means at Pre-Med. Exam., subject Biology (Zoology). Paper B held on 23-4-75.

Memorandum:

It has been reported that while you were appearing in your examination cited above as subject under Roll No. 8754, you were caught with printed material which you had kept with you in spite of warnings to all the examinees to submit any handwritten/printed material which was with them. Thereby you are guilty of adoption of unfair means under the Rules, Please explain as to why the examination taken by you should not be cancelled.

You can send your explanation to reach the undersigned latest by the 31st May, 1975. If you want to be heard inperson, you may appear before the Unfair Means Committee at 9 a. m. on 3-6-75 in the Committee Room, Administrative Block, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra.'

3. The petitioner submitted his explanation in writing and also requested respondent No. 2 to supply the petitioner with a copy of the report of the Superintendent and copies of the other papers, that is relevant material, on the basis of which the petitioner was likely to be punished by the Committee. The allegations contained in the show cause notice were denied and it was categorically stated by the petitioner that no printed paper was ever recovered from him. The petitioner also appeared before the Unfair Means Committee on 3rd of June, 1975 along with 250 students. Again he requested the Committee to supply the material on the basis of which he had been proceeded against, but to no avail. His statement was not recorded, neither he was handed over a questionnaire nor any questions were put by the Committee to him. In the 2nd week of July, 1975, the petitioner came to know from the College authorities that he had been found guilty of using unfair means and that he was disqualified from passing the examination held in April/May, 1975 under Ordinance 28 of the Kurukshetra University Calendar, 1970, Volume I. Copy of the Kurukshetra University Calendar, 1970 (Annexure P/3) vide which he was disqualified is reproduced below:

'Subject-- Misconduct and use of unfair means at the Pre-Medical/Pre-Engineering Exam, held in April/May, 1975.

It is hereby notified that the under mentioned candidates have been found guilty of using unfair means at the Pre-Medical/Pre-Engineering Examination of this University held in April/May, 1975 and have been awarded punishment noticed against their names, under Ordinance XXVIII of Kurukshetra University Calendar No. I 1970.(For Calendar see next page)

4. Dissatisfied with the Notification, the petitioner filed a writ petition in the High Court on 27th August, 1975 in which notice of motion was issued for 18th of September, 1975. Respondent No. 3, Vice-Chancellor, after going through the writ petition, ordered reinvestigation of the case under para. 9 of the Ordinance 28, and remanded the case of the petitioner to the Unfair Means Committee vide order, dated 9th

RollNo.

EnrolmentNo.

Name ofthe candidate

Name ofthe college

Periodof Disqualification.

8754

74-CH-463

SunilKant

Govt.College, Hissar.

Disqualifiedfrom passing the Exam. held in April/May, 1975.

10337 Kurukshetra.

74-CH-432July 2, 1975.'

SudhirSharma

-do-

-do-

Kurukabatra, July 2. 1975.'

September, 1975 (Annexure P/4) which is reproduced below:

'Today I have gone through the writ petition filed by Sunil Kant and I have also gone through the record. I have found that the Superintendent of the concerned Examination Centre sent the following report on 23-4-1975. The report reads as follows:--

'The Flying Squad visited on 23-4-75 at 9.40 a. m. and handed over the case of Roll No. 8754 who was said to have possessed two printed papers of objection. I got the objectionable papers signed by the candidate and gave him second copy of Answer-Book.

The case is sent for your necessary action.'

The report which the Centre Superintendent handed over to the Convener of the Flying Squad, reads as follows:--

'The following Roll Nos. were found in possession of incriminating papers on 23-4-1975 (M) by the members of the Flying Squad. Their copies along with the incriminating material are being sent separately to the University Office. Roll Nos. 5002, 8754 and 10337.'

But in the form of reporting (specimen copy attached) the Centre Superintendent ticked the item that the material was found 'near his seat on the ground at a distance of......'

Under para 9 of Ordinance XXVIII I can order re-investigation if certain facts come to my notice within 30 days of the receipt of the decision of the Committee, I am waiving that time limit as 1 think that it would be only fair to do so. The case is remanded for further investigation by the Unfair Means Committee.'

In the writ petition, a short affidavit was filed by the Registrar and the Motion Bench passed the following order on 18-9-1975:--

'Short affidavit of the Registrar has been filed. It is averred therein that the matter has been referred back to the Unfair Means Committee for further investigation and reconsideration,Mr. Gupta undertakes that the Committee will redecide the matter within six weeks. To come up on the 30th October, 1975.'

Vide memo, dated 2-10-1975 (Annexure P/6), the Controller of Exams, required the petitioner to appear before the Unfair Means Committee on 15-10-1975. Accordingly, the petitioner appeared and put in an application (Annexure P/7) before the Committee for supply of the copy of the material which was to be used against him for reinvestigation of the case but to no avail. The Committee recorded the evidence of the three members of the Flying Squad and passed the impugned order (Annexure P/8) reaffirming their earlier decision. Its relevant portion reads as under:--

'On 3-6-1975 we considered the case of Sunil Kant who appeared in Pre-Medical Examination in April/May, 1975 with Roll No. 8754 and against whom there was a charge of adopting unfair means. We found him guilty and his examination was cancelled. However, it came to the notice of the Vice-Chancellor that although the Superintendent, Shri M. S. Aggarwal, said in his report that the incriminating papers were found in the possession of the student, in the printed report he ticked item (xi) which says that the material was found 'near his seat on the ground at a distance of......'

In view of these contradictory statements, the Vice-Chancellor sent the case to us for further investigation. The Vice-Chancellor himself is attending the meeting today under clause 4 of the 1st Statute. Although a case of this kind is usually disposed of summarily we have, this time, proceeded quasi-judicially as the Superintendent is also involved.

When this re-investigation was ordered, Sunil Kant submitted a petition dated the 1st October, 1975 in which he questioned the authority of the Vice-Chancellor to order further inquiry. He submitted that the order was illegal. Today at the very outset he submitted a petition saying 'that, today petitioner is not in a position to join the proceedingbecause he is not aware of the evidence collected by the Unfair Means Committee,' Dr. M. L. Gonga, Reader in Mathematics, Dr Sarabjit Singh, Reader in Mathematics and Dr. K. C. Yadav, Lecturer in History, all teachers of the University were members of the Flying Squad. They have told the Committee in the presence of Sunil Kant that when the Flying Squad arrived at the centre in the Govt. College, Hissar, he (Sunil Kant) was going out. When questioned, whore he was going, he replied that he was going to meet his father. The members of the Flying Squad did not allow the student to do so instead they took him to his seat, made a search of his person there and found some pages of a book tied on his leg and a couple of them in his pocket and also a page in his answer-book. Sunil Kant refused to put any question to the members of the Flying Squad on the plea that he wanted ten days time. This was not granted as there was no reason for granting the same. We have no reason whatsoever to disbelieve the members of the Flying Squad, who were responsible teachers from the University.

As regards the Superintendent, Shri H. S. Aggarwal, his contention is that the papers were lying on the floor from where the members of the Flying Squad picked them up. When he was asked whether he saw the papers lying there before the Flying Squad arrived, Ms answer was in the negative. When he was asked why he did not put down the distance of the spot where the papers were lying from the seat as required, his answer was 'It was a mistake on my part.'

We are constrained to say that Shri Aggarwal has no regard for truth and his story that the papers were lying on the floor can be easily rejected. In the above circumstances, we find no ground to revise our previous decision that Shri Sunil Kant is guilty of adopting unfair means.

The cancellation of the examination of Shri Sunil Kant is reaffirmed '

It is in this situation that the present writ has been filed challenging the impugned notification and orders passed by the respondents on 2nd of July, 3975, 9th of September, 1975 and 15th of October, 1975, contained in Annexures P/3, P/4 and P/8.

5. Mr. A. S. Nehra, learned counsel for the petitioner, contends that the impugned Notification, Annexure P/3, cannot be sustainable as it was based on no evidence and the petitioner was not afforded an opportunity to defend himself and thus the principle of natural justice has been violated. His next ground of challenge is that the Vice-Chancellor had no authority in law to order re-investigation of the matter after 30 days under para 9 of the Ordinance 28 and as such the orders of the Vice-Chancellor, Annexure P/4, and subsequent order of the Unfair Means Committee, Annexure P/8, reaffirming their earlier decision are without jurisdiction and contrary to law.

6. In the return, filed on behalf of the respondents by the Registrar, it is not denied that copy of the material against the petitioner was not supplied to the petitioner. The stand of the respondents is that in a proceeding of this kind, it was not necessary to inform the petitioner in advance about the evidence which will be led against him. It is also averred in the written statement that the Vice-Chancellor could waive the limitation and order reinvestigation even after 30 days in the interest of justice and that no interference is called for in the present case by the High Court. The law on this point by now is very clear. It is repeatedly held by this Court that the candidate is to be given an opportunity in the real sense to defend himself and that if he asks for any material which is going to be used against him, he has to be supplied the same and refusal to do so will prima facie be violative of the rules of natural justice. In the instant case, admittedly copy of the report of the Superintendent, or the statements of the members of the Flying Squad nor the printed material alleged to have been recovered from him, was ever supplied to the petitioner. In the situation, I have no hesitation in holding that the impugned notification, Annexure P/3, disqualifying him from passing the examination was passed in violation of the principles of natural justice and hence cannot be sustained. In a similar situation in Ramesh Kapur v. Punjab University, AIR 1965 Punj 120 (FB). it was observed as under:--

'If the right of a candidate to be heard is to be a reality, he must know the case which he has to meet and if heasks the University authorities to supply him with necessary details of such material or evidence on which the case against him is based and refusal to do so will be prima facie violative of the rule of natural justice.

An examinee must be adequately informed of the case he has to meet and given a full opportunity of meeting it. As to what the extent and content of that information should be or ought to be would depend on the facts of each case. It is always open to the examinee to ask for more information or details with regard to the material or evidence which may be sought to be used against him and normally if he makes a request in that behalf the University authorities, in order to inform him adequately of the case he has to meet as also to afford him proper opportunity of presenting his case, would supply him the necessary particulars or details of the evidence. This situation may arise at any stage i.e. at the time when information is given of the charge of the allegation or even at a later stage when the examinee has already furnished the explanation.'

7. Now coming to the second contention of the learned counsel for the petitioner, it is relevant to examine the powers of the Vice-Chancel for under para 11 of Ordinance 28 of Kurukshetra University Calendar, 1970 which are as follows;--

'The 'Shiksha Samiti' (Academic Council) shall appoint annually a Standing Committee to deal with cases of alleged misconduct and use of unfair means in connection with examinations. When the Committee is unanimous, its decision shall be final except as given in the proviso below. If the Committee is not unanimous, the matter shall be referred to the Vice-Chancellor who shall either decide the matter himself or refer it to the 'Shiksha Samiti' (Academic Council):

Provided that in cases of alleged use of unfair means, in connection with examinations if, in the opinion of the Vice-Chancellor, facts have been brought to light within 30 days of the receipt of the decision by the candidate which, had they been before the Committee, might have induced them to come to a decision other than the one arrived at, then the Vice-Chancellor may order that suchfacts be reduced to writing and placedbefore the Committee. The Committee shall then reconsider the case. A unanimous decision of the Committee shall be final. But in the event of a difference of opinion, the case shall be referred to the Vice-Chancellor who may either finally decide the case himself or refer it to the 'Shiksha Samiti' (Academic Council) for final decision as he thinks fit.'

A reading of these provisions shows that if, in the opinion of the Vice-Chancellor. some new facts have been brought to light within 30 days of the receipt of the decision by the candidate, then the Vice-Chancellor can order re-investigation, of the matter. In the instant case, the order of the Vice-Chancellor shows that no such new facts were brought to light by the candidate nor did the candidate ever claim re-investigation. The Vice-Chancellor acted suo motu. The import of the above quoted rule is that new facts have to be brought to light by the candidate within 30 days of the receipt of decision of the Committee. It is not clear from the order, dated 9th September, 1975 (Annexure P/4) of the Vice-Chancellor as to what new facts were brought to light or to his notice. He could order re-investigation if he was satisfied that had the new facts been before the Committee, the same might have induced it to come to a decision other than the one arrived by it. It is then incumbent upon him to order that the new facts be reduced to writing and placed before the Committee, which shall redecide the case. But the impugned order, Annexure P/4, clearly shows that the Vice-Chancellor after going through the writ petition, earlier filed in this Court by the petitioner, suo motu remanded the case for re-investigation by the Committee which is not warranted by the Ordinance or the Statute. Moreover, it is evident from the order, Annexure P/8, that Vice-Chancellor also attended the meeting of the Unfair Means Committee, which he was not competent to do so under any provision of the Statute or the Ordinance. The learned counsel for the University is unable to show as to how the Vice-Chancellor attended the meeting of the Unfair Means Committee. Hence, I have no hesitation in holding that the order, Annexure P/4 of the Vice-Chancellor ordering ' reinvestigation of the petitioner's case is clearly beyond his jurisdiction and quash the same. As a consequence of it, the order of the Unfair Means Committee, Annexure P/8, reaffirming their earlier decision, is also quashed.

8. No other point is urged.

9. For the reasons recorded above, this petition is allowed and the impugned notification and orders, Annexures P/3, P/4 and P/8, are quashed. No costs.


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