1. This order will dispose of Civil Writ No. 569 of 1972 Haravtar Singh v. Punjab University, Civil Writ No. 420 of 1972, Ashok Kumar v. Punjab University, Civil Writ No. 559 of 1972, Jasbir Singh v. Punjab University and C. W. 571 of 1972, Sukhdev Gupta v. Punjab University, as common questions of law and fact arise in these cases.
2. The petitioners in all these cases had joined the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, or the Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana, for B.Sc. Engineering Course before September, 1969. According to the Regulations then in force, each year of the four years' course was divided into two semesters and can examination was held at the end of each semester. The classes generally began in July and the first semester finished in November when the examination of Part I was held. The second semester commenced thereafter and Part II examination was held in April-May following. If a candidate failed in Part I, he could take the examination in Part I and Part II together at the next examination and if he passed in both the examinations of Part I and Part II, he was declared successful and he could join the next higher class but if he cleared Part I but failed or obtained compartment in Part II, he could join the next higher class provisionally and had to clear the second part of the examination of the previous year in November along with Part I examination of the next class. If he failed to clear Part II examination, his candidature for Part I examination of the higher class was to be cancelled and he was not to prosecute his studies in the next higher class till he passed Part II of the examination of the previous class, in which he failed. Thus, each candidate was afforded two chances to clear each part of the examination and was allowed to join the higher class pending clearance at the second chance. The pass percentage required to pass each examination was 35 per cent. In September, 1969, these Regulations were revised and according to the revised Regulations each candidate was to get three chances for passing the examination in each part and the pass percentage was increased from 35 to 40. The revised Regulations were made applicable to the petitioners and other students who were then studying in the B.Sc. Engineering Course. Some students filed Civil Writ No. 3014 of 1970 (Punj. & Har.) which was accepted by Narula, J., on October 27, 1970, and it was held that the order of the University applying new Regulations even to those students, who had been admitted to the B.Sc. Engineering course before the amendment, was bad and was consequently struck down. An appeal under clause X of the Letters Patent (L. P. A. No. 740 of 1970 (Punj. & Har.)) filed against that judgment was dismissed in limine by a Division Bench on November 24, 1970. Thereafter, the Punjab University asked the students to state their option whether they wanted to be governed by the Old Regulations or the New Regulations. Some students gave the option in favour of the Old Regulations while others opted for the New Regulations. Kamaljit Singh, Charanjit Singh, Nirmal Singh, Puranjit Singh and Amarjit Singh opted for the New Regulations. When the results of the examination held in April, 1971, were to be declared, it was found that these students could not be declared successful under the New Regulations because they had not secured the minimum pass percentage of marks. If their options were withdrawn, they were still to be losers because they were to be deprived of the third chance to which a candidate could be entitled only under the New Regulations. New options were, therefore, taken from Kamaljit Singh and others wherein each one of them stated as follows:--
'I agree to change from New Regulations to Old Regulations provided I am given additional chance to appear in Part I examination in July, 1971, to which I was entitled under the New Regulations. It may be added that at the time of appearing under New Regulations I was entitled to additional Supplementary Examination. My result may be declared under Old Regulations.'
On the basis of this revised option, the results of Kamaljit Singh and others were declared under the Old Regulations but they were allowed another chance to appear in the supplementary examination to be held in July, 1971. No such revised options were asked for from the students who had opted for the Old Regulations and they were not allowed third chance to appear in the supplementary examination to be held in July, 1971. That examination was actually held in August, 1971 and Ranjit Singh and five other students of Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana, filed Civil Writ No. 3013 of 1971 (Punj. & Har.) in this Court praying that a writ in the nature of Mandamus, or any other appropriate writ, order or direction be issued directing the respondent-University to give them one more chance to clear their examination with permission to sit in the higher class provisionally and to treat them at par with Kamaljit Singh and others. Notice of motion of that petition was issued to the respondent-University on whose behalf a reply was filed on August 12, 1971. Practically all the material facts were admitted in that reply but it was pleaded that all the writ petitioners of that case have failed in their first semester twice and their result of the second semester had been cancelled as they were governed under the Old Regulations and not under the New Regulations. In reply to the charge of discrimination vis-a-vis Kamaljit Singh and others, it was alleged that 'even under the new regulations no benefit could be given to them (to the petitioners) as they had failed to clear 50 per cent of the papers combined of first semester and second semester'. In support of that allegation, detailed results of the said petitioners were given in Annexures R-1 to R-6 filed with the reply, which were scrutinized by the Bench hearing the writ petition with the help of the learned counsel for both sides. The learned counsel agreed that petitioners I and 4 to 6 of that petition did qualify under the New Regulations for being given a third chance as each one of them had cleared more then 50 per cent of the papers of the first and second semesters combined taken by them in April, 1971. The learned counsel for the University also conceded that there was no difference in the cases of the said petitioners and Kamaljit Singh and others. After considering the reply of the respondent and hearing the learned counsel for both sides, the Bench allowed the writ petition of petitioners 1 and 4 to 6 and directed the respondent-University to declare their results (after canceling the cancellation of the Part II result), to give them the third chance and to admit them provisionally in the next higher class. That writ petition was decided on August 16, 1971. In view of that decision, it has been urged that in all the petitions before me the petitioners are entitled to a third chance to clear the Part II examination which they failed to clear in November, 1971, and to continue their studies in the higher class which has been denied to them by the University. The necessity to file these petitions has arisen because all the petitioners have been debarred from attending the higher classes to which they had been provisionally admitted on the ground that they have failed to pass the Part II examination. It has also been stated on behalf of the University that under the Old Regulations, for which the petitioners gave their options, third chance was not permissible along with continuance in the higher class. It is admitted by the learned counsel for both sides that the petitioners can clear Part II in the next examination but under the Old Regulations they are not entitled to continue their studies in the higher class to which they were provisionally admitted. The result is that till they clear Part II examination, they will not be entitled to join the college or continue therein in the next higher class.
3. It has been strongly urged by the learned counsel for the petitioners that discrimination has been practiced qua the petitioners as they have not been treated like Kamaljit Singh and others, and Ranjit Singh and others, wholes Writ Petn. No. 3013 of 1971 (Punj. & Har.) was allowed by a Division Bench of this Court as stated above. Shri C. L. Lakhanpal, learned counsel for the respondent in two of these petitions, has brought to my notice the decision of Narula J. (who was the senior Judge of that Division Bench) in Civil Writ No. 3341 of 1971 (Punj. & Har.), Pardeep Parshad v. The Punjab University, decided on November 1, 1971, on the basis of which he seeks to argue that the Division Bench judgment applied only to those students who had taken the examination in April, 1971, and the benefit allowed to them was not to be perpetuated and could not be allowed to those students who appeared in the examinations held in November, 1971. The facts of that case were that the petitioners had joined the B.Sc. Engineering course in July, 1968, they sat in Part I examination of the third year in November, 1970, but failed to clear the same. They attempted Part I as well as Part II of the third year in April, 1971, but failed to clear either Part I as a whole or Part II as a whole. However, they cleared more than 50 per cent of the total papers taken by them in the first and second parts combined. If the Old Regulations, which were in force before September, 1969, were applied to them, they would have failed to pass in their third year examination and would have been reverted to Part I. Under the new Regulations, which had been enforced after September, 1969, each of the petitioners would have been entitled to a third chance to clear the remaining papers of Part I and Part II of the third year in November, 1971. Their cases were, therefore, considered to be at par with the petitioners of Civil Writ No. 3013 of 1971 (Punj. & Har.) and it was observed by the learned Judge that 'there is no difference between that case and this, particularly so far as the third year student in that case was concerned'. Thereafter, the following observations appear on which reliance has been placed by Shri Lakhanpal:--
'Mr. Ashok Bhan, the learned counsel for the University, submits that it may be clarified that the third chance to which the writ petitioners would be entitled for clearing their first and second parts of the third year examination would relate only to their failure in April, 1971, for which examination Kamaljit Singh etc. had been allowed a chance, and that this may not be deemed to have become the rule for all the examinations in future also. This is indeed so, and I have no hesitation in making this clarification.'
4. It is, thus, evident from this observation that the learned Judge only directed the benefit to be given of both Old and New Regulations to those students who had failed in April 1971 examination and that this benefit was not to be allowed to the students who took later examinations and failed. In the instant cases, the petitioners have failed in November, 1971 examination and they seek benefit of third chance which cannot be allowed to them in view of the observations of Narula, J. set out above.
5. I am, however, of the opinion that the Punjab University allowed a concession or a benefit to Kamaljit Singh and others by applying to them both the Old and New Regulations although they had opted for the New Regulations only and that a similar concession or benefit cannot be claimed in the present cases. It is quite clear that the benefit allowed to Kamaljit Singh and others by the University was not in accordance with the Regulations, which applied to them, and were in fact in relaxation of those Regulations. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court have held in K. V. Rajalakshmiah Setty v. State of Mysore, AIR 1967 SC 993, that a concession cannot be enforced by issuing a writ of mandamus. The following observations in para 12 of the report are quite instructive on this point:--
'No doubt, some concession had been shown to the first batch of 41 persons and the batches of persons who had come in after the batch of 63 persons also received some concession, but after all these were concessions and not something which they could claim as of right. The State of Mysore might have shown some indulgence to this batch of 63 persons but we cannot issue a writ of mandamus commanding it to do so.'
6. The principle of equality under Article 14 of the Constitution, on which great emphasis has been laid on behalf of the petitioners, enjoins equality before the law and not before a wrong decision of an authority or a concession granted in certain cases. As I have said above, it was a concession allowed to Kamaljit Singh and others, possibly in view of the fact that there was confusion in regard to the applicability of Old Regulations or New Regulations to them. It was made clear by the decision of this Court rendered on October 27, 1970, that Old Regulations had to apply to those students who had joined the B.Sc. Engineering course before September, 1969, when the New Regulations were introduced. There is no doubt that after that decision the University called for the option from each student and Kamaljit Singh and others opted for the New Regulations but on some consideration the University granted them the concession of declaring their result on the basis of Old Regulations and, at the same time, allowing them the third chance to clear the examination in which they had failed and to which they were not entitled under the Old Regulations. That concession was allowed to them by relaxing the rules and could not be claimed by Kamaljit Singh and others as a matter of right. It was voluntarily allowed by the University. Such a concession or benefit cannot, therefore, be claimed as a matter of right by the petitioners and no writ of mandamus can be issued commanding the University to allow similar benefit or concession to the petitioners. It is well-known that a writ of mandamus can be issued to a public authority commanding it to do its duty in accordance with law or statutory rules in force and no direction can be issued to act contrary to the provisions of the law and the statutory rules even if it may be by way of concession which has been allowed to some persons of the same class. Moreover, Kamaljit Singh and others, to whom the concession was allowed by the University, and Ranjit Singh and others and Pradeep Parshad and others, whose writ petitions were allowed by this Court, formed one class of students who had failed in the examination held in April, 1971, and the present petitioners do not belong to that class. They constitute a different class as they failed in the examinations held in November, 1971, and their case is fully governed by the observations of their Lordships of the Supreme Court set out above.
7. In Civil Writ No. 569 of 1971, petitioners 1, 2 and 3 had given an undertaking to the Principal of the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, while seeking admission to the higher class, as under:--
'I............... son of............. may kindly be given admission in Second Semester of B.Sc. Engineering in............ year class provisionally at my own risk and responsibility, subject to my qualifying the Part II of............ B.Sc. Engg. Examination in which I have appeared in November, 1971, under Roll No...........'.
8. In view of these undertakings, these petitioners are not entitled to claim that they should be allowed to continue in the higher class even if they have not qualified the Part II of the Examination held in November, 1971.
9. In Civil Writ No. 571 of 1972, another point has been raised by the petitioners to the effect that they gave their options on January 14, 1971, to be governed by the Old Regulations and that the result of the examination held in November, 1970, should be declared on the basis of New Regulations which applied to them at that time because the University enforced the New Regulations with effect from September, 1969. In reply to this assertion, it is pleaded by the University that in the declaration sent by each of the petitioners opting for Old Regulations, it was stated that 'after fully and thoroughly examining the implications of both the Regulations, I hereby declare and give an irrevocable undertaking in writing that all my future B.Sc. Engineering Degree Examinations till I finally clear B.Sc. Engineering Examination including the one held in November, 1970, be governed by Old Regulations.' In view of this undertaking the petitioners cannot claim that their results of November, 1970, examination should be declared in accordance with the pass percentage prescribed in the New Regulations. After seeing the undertakings given by the petitioners, their learned counsel did not press this point any further.
10. For the reasons given above, I hold that the petitioners are not entitled to the relief claimed by them. These petitions, therefore, fail and are dismissed but without any order as to costs.
11. Petitions dismissed.