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Vinod Kumar Mahajan and ors. Vs. State of Punjab and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Nos. 2710 and 2760 of 1964 and 150 and 817 of 1965
Judge
Reported inAIR1966P& H155
ActsConduct of State Board Examination for Diploma in Production Engineering (Punjab) Rules - Rule 16
AppellantVinod Kumar Mahajan and ors.
RespondentState of Punjab and ors.
Appellant Advocate R. Sachar and; R.K. Chhibbar, Advs.
Respondent Advocate J.N. Kaushal, Adv. General
DispositionPetition dismissed
Cases ReferredSurrinder Kumar v. Punjab University
Excerpt:
- sections 80 (2) & 89 & punjab motor vehicles rules, 1989, rules 85 & 80: [t.s. thakur, cj, jasbir singh & surya kant, jj] appeal against orders of state or regional transport authority imitation held, a stipulation regarding the period of limitation available for invoking the remedy shall have to be strictly construed. that is because any provision by way of limitation is in the nature of a restraint on the remedy provided under the act. so viewed two inferences are clear viz., (1) sections 80 and 89 of the act read with rule 85 of the rules make it obligatory for the authorities making the order to communicate it to the applicant concerned and (2) the period of limitation for any appeal against the order is reckonable from the date of such communication of the reasons would imply.....orderr.s. narula, j.1. this judgment will dispose of four writ petitions, that is, civil writ no. 2710 of 1964 (vinod kumar mahajan v. the state of punjab and ors.), civil writ no. 2760 of 1964 (sushil kumar gupta v. the state of punjab and ors.), civil writ no. 150 of 1965 (shingara singh v. the state of punjab and ors.) and civil writ no. 817 of 1965 (parampal singh v. the state of punjab and ors.). common questions of law arise in these cases though there is slight variation in regard to one relevant fact, that is, about the stand taken by the respective petitioners regarding the allegation against them on the date of occurrence and in their respective written explanations filed by them two days later. i will give detailed facts relating to the case of vinod kumar mahajan and would.....
Judgment:
ORDER

R.S. Narula, J.

1. This judgment will dispose of four writ petitions, that is, Civil Writ No. 2710 of 1964 (Vinod Kumar Mahajan v. The State of Punjab and Ors.), Civil Writ No. 2760 of 1964 (Sushil Kumar Gupta v. The State of Punjab and Ors.), Civil Writ No. 150 of 1965 (Shingara Singh v. The State of Punjab and Ors.) and Civil Writ No. 817 of 1965 (Parampal Singh v. The State of Punjab and Ors.). Common questions of law arise in these cases though there is slight variation in regard to one relevant fact, that is, about the stand taken by the respective petitioners regarding the allegation against them on the date of occurrence and in their respective written explanations filed by them two days later. I will give detailed facts relating to the case of Vinod Kumar Mahajan and would then mention the differentiating features of the other cases before dealing with the legal question. Vinod Kumar Mahajan of Pathankot (hereinafter referred to as the petitioner) after having passed his Higher Secondary Examination in 1962 and the Pre-Engineering Examination in April, 1963, joined the Diploma of Production Engineering Course under the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, in August 1963. The Production Engineering Course and the examinations thereof are conducted under the Technical Board of Education, Punjab.

Respondent No. 2 is the Director of Technical Education, Chandigarh, and respondent No. 3 is the Principal, Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh. In the course of taking the First Year examination, the petitioner took his seat for taking the commerce paper on June 3, 1964, but was found within a few minutes after the commencement of the examination to be having a chit with him lying in his answer book. According to the petitioner, he had noted certain points on that chit on the evening of June 2, 1964, and had carried the chit with him up to the examination hall intentionally but he wanted to leave it outside the hall and it was only by inadvertence and oversight that he forgot to throw it away when the examination, started. When this chit was noticed by the invigilator, he had to 'snatch it away' from the petitioner and handed it over to the Superintendent of the examination centre. The words 'snatched away' have been taken by me from the written explanation of the petitioner dated June 5, 1964, which is hereinafter referred to. Admittedly, the chit related to the subject on which the paper had to be taken on that day but it is alleged that it did not cover any of the questions which actually came in the question paper. It is, however, not disputed that the petitioner had not copied anything from the chit in his answer book. When the invigilator took possession of the chit, he recorded a certificate on a separate sheet in the following words:

'I certify that a paper was found from the Roll No. 311 (Vinod Kumar), which was lying in his answer book. I found it when I was stamping his answer book. Of course, he was not copying it. He has signed on that paper'.

The Supervisor attached the chit to the abovementioned certificate of the invigilator and put up the paper and the chit to the Superintendent of the examination centre for orders. Thereunder the Superintendent recorded the following endorsement :--

'Roll No. 311

For explanation please.

(Sd.) Illegible

3-6-64.'

When the paper with the chit was given to the petitioner for giving his explanation, the petitioner proceeded to destroy the chit and instead of recording his explanation merely made his signatures on the original sheet but either intentionally or inadvertently dated his signatures as 3-5-63 instead of 3-6-64. The Superintendent, however, in his own handwriting put the date '3-6-64' under that date. It is admitted that the Superintendent did not, though he could, expel the petitioner from the examination hall and allowed the petitioner to take his commerce examination on 3-6-64. On the original sheet which started with the certificate of the invigilator dated June 3, 1964, the Superintendent recorded a note dated June 3, 1964, in the following words:--

'When this thing happened, I was in the hall. The Supervisor showed me the paper. I asked the student why he brought this paper. He told just to see the headings.

(Sd.) Lal Chand,

Superintendent.'

'This paper was given to him for explanation. The paper found from him was attached to this report and while signing the paper, he destroyed that paper.

(Sd.) Lal Chand

3-6-1964 '.

When the petitioner appeared again for his examination on June 5, 1964, the Superintendent asked the petitioner why he had brought that paper. To this query the petitioner replied that he had taken the chit in question to the examination hall just to see the headings. The petitioner was asked to give a written explanation on which the petitioner gave a manuscript writing dated June 5, 1964, addressed to the Examination Controller, Chandigarh, in the following words :--

'It is true that I had a piece of paper with me containing seven points regarding commerce paper. But these points had no connection whatsoever with questions given in the paper. Moreover, it was snatched away by the invigilator after the ten minutes of the commencement of the paper. I did not copyfrom that paper. So, I may be please excused from the paper that was destroyed by me. I will not do such things in future.Thanking you.'

2. The above mentioned report of the Superintendent along with the written explanation of the petitioner dated June 5, 1964, was forwarded by the Superintendent of the examination to the Examination Committee concerned, of which the Director of the Technical Education is the Chairman.

3. Though the result of the petitioner for the First Year Examination was not declared as the abovementioned case of unfair means against him was pending, the petitioner was not debarred in July 1964 from starting his studies in the second year class. On September 8, 1964, the petitioner along with the petitioners in the three connected writ petitions and one Dharampal, wrote a joint letter (Annexure A-l) to the Director, Technical Education, Punjab, regarding the above incident. In this letter it was stated, inter alia, as follows :--

'Whether the slips were deliberately kept is debatable, since nobody pays any heed to our assertion, we have to abide by the verdict of the Superintendent, Examination. Let us in all faith once again proclaim that it was not a deliberate act. We had to remember certain points in the few minutes that one gets before the examination. In haste we forgot to throw them away.'

'To face this severe punishment at such a late stage is unwarranted (reference clause 20, page 4 of General Rules for the Conduct of State Board Examination for Diploma in Production Engineering). Had we been disqualified at the spot (clause No. 13, page 3), we would have been in a position to take some other courses of study.'

'The decision of disqualification has swept us off our feet and is nothing but a big blow to our life and career. This will ruin us in every manner and will debar us from leading a worthliving life. We admit that though it is an offence yet our life should not be marred.'

'Regarding the punishment for such act, we humbly approach your goodself to reconsider the decision taking a lenient view in our favour so that our career is not marred'.

4. Again on October 6, 1964, the petitioner along with the three petitioners in the connected cases and Dharam Paul submitted a similar representation to the Minister for Technical Education, Punjab, Chandigarh, wherein they added as follows:

'We very strongly feel that the general rules in Engineering for the Conduct of State Board Diploma Examination for Production Engineering amply safeguard our interests if they are interpreted properly. We may humbly submit that already a similar case has been decided in favour of the petitioner by the Hon'ble Justice P. D. Sharma on 3rd March,1964, and the copy of the judgment is being attached for your kind perusal.'

5. Letter dated November 16, 1964, copy Annexure A. 3 to the writ petition, then appears to have been sent by some of these candidates to the Principal, Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, for declaration of their results for the First Year class as they had been stopped from taking the Second Year Production Engineering Examination on November 11, 1964, in the middle of the same. On November 20, 1964, the Principal of the Engineering College issued an office order notifying that all the four respective petitioners in the four cases, which have been disposed of by this judgment, and Dharam Paul, who had all been provisionally promoted to Second Year class, had been disqualified on account of their having used unfair means in the Production Engineering Examination held in May 1964 and that, therefore, their names were being removed from the college rolls with effect from November 11, 1964, and they would not be allowed to sit in the class any further. This notice (Annexure A. 5) and office order of the same date (20-11-1964), copy Annexure A. 4, were issued by the Principal in pursuance of the intimation received from the Director, Technical Education, that all these five students had been debarred for two years on account of their using unfair means and that they could reappear in the examination of May 1966 and for that purpose they could rejoin the course again in July 1965.

6. It is the decision of the Examination Committee and the above-mentioned office orders of the Principal of the College, which have been impugned in this writ petition on various grounds which will be dealt with at a later stage in this judgment. Interim stay of the operation of the impugned orders was granted by the Motion , Bench (Grover and Dua JJ.) while admitting this writ petition on December 15, 1964. After hearing the counsel for both sides, the ad interim stay order was confirmed till the disposal of the writ petition by P. D. Sharma J. on January 5, 1965. This has resulted in the petitioner in this case as well as the petitioners in the connected cases having continued to study for the Second Year class, having taken the examination of the Second Year Class, having passed the same and being now in the Third Year class of the Production Engineering Course.

7. I may now briefly state as to what happened on the 3rd and 5th of June, 1964, in relation to the petitioners in the connected cases. The certificate recorded by the invigilator in case of Sushil Kumar Gupta, petitioner in Civil Writ No. 2760 of 1964, was in the following words:

'I, certify that a paper was found from the Roll No. 278, which was lying in his answer-book. I found it when I was stamping his answer book. When I found it, then he was not copying it. He has signed on that paper.'

8. As in the case of Vinod Kumar Mahajan, the chit found from the student was attached to the sheet prepared by the invigilator and was submitted to the Superintendent for orders. The Superintendent passed an order on that sheet calling the explanation of the candidate and he merely signed the same and put the date 3-6-64 against his signatures. Under the signatures of the candidate the Superintendent recorded a certificate to the following effect:

'The attached paper was found by the Supervisor with the candidate when I was in the hall. He admitted that he has brought this paper with him.'

9. The half torn and half soiled chit is still attached to the original report, which has been filed before me by the learned Advocate General. This candidate was also not expelled from the examination hall and was allowed to take his examination in the commerce paper. On June 5, 1964, the Superintendent again asked the candidate for his explanation and in pursuance of that direction the candidate gave his written explanation addressed to the Examination Controller Chandigarh, reading as follows:

'It is true that I had a small piece of paper with me containing few points regarding commerce paper. But these points had no connection whatsoever with the question given in the paper. Moreover, this piece of paper was taken by the invigilator after 8 minutes of the commencement of paper. So I did not copy. So please excuse me. The paper was destroyed by me. I will not do such things in future.

Thanking you.'

9A. It appears that the paper had been completely soiled and half torn but the salvage of the same, as stated above, is attached with the report of the Superintendent.

10. In the case of Shingara Singh (Civil Writ No. 150 of 1965) Roll No. 291, a similar certificate was recorded by the invigilator. Under that certificate the Supervisor recorded the following note to the Superintendent of the Examination centre:

'Of course, the paper was given to me by the Supervisor Shri Gandhi before the student. I asked the student to sign that chit found from him. Meanwhile, he saw you coming in this hall from the window. He snatched the chit from my hand and swallowed it at once. It is already in your notice verbally.

For orders please.'

11. Under that endorsement the Superintendent passed the order calling for the explanation of the candidate. The explanation given by the candidate in writing on that sheet on that date is to the following effect:

'I was having no paper. This is totally a wrong allegation against me.'

After the above-mentioned words, the following words have been written and scored out before the signatures of the candidate: 'He might have'.

The written explanation given by Shangara Singh on June 5, 1964, reads as follows:

'With due deference I beg to state that on June 3, 1964, there was our commerce paper. I was found guilty of swallowing an objectionable paper, from which I never copied. That small piece of paper was hardly of the size of 2' x 1' which the invigilator saw on my seat within the first four minutes of the commencement of examination. Though that small paper was there on my seat, yet I did not copy it and swallowed on the other hand within first four minutes. So I earnestly beg your pardon. Kindly excuse me for the fault on my part. I would never show such like attitude again. Hoping to be excused and praying my personal gratitude to you'.

12. Parampal Singh, petitioner in Civil Writ No. 817 of 1965 was similarly found in possession of a small piece of paper on which certain points appeared to have been noted. It was detected in the answer book of the candidate by the invigilator on which explanation of the candidate was called and he recorded the following explanation in writing on that date (June 3, 1964):

'I was having no paper with me and you can just check my question done in the answer sheet. It is direct allegation on me.'

13. Under that explanation a certificate is recorded by Shri Lal Chand, Superintendent, on the same date to the following effect:

'The paper was found in the answer book in my presence'.

14. The original sheet is attached to the report. On being asked the explanation in detail, the candidate gave a written explanation on June 5, 1964 which does not bear any date. This was in the following terms:

'With due deference I beg to state that on June 3, 1964, we had a paper of commerce. Unfortunately, I was found guilty of illegal possession of a small piece of paper which was containing hints regarding one question. But I did not copy those hints for the attemptation of that question. The size of that small piece was 2' x 1' approximate.

I am very much ashamed of this mean culpritacy and promise to be beyond such like silly things. I hope you will excuse me and accede to the request of my further career. I will be highly grateful to you.

Thanking you.'

15. The rest of the history of these connected cases is the same as of Vinod Kumar Mahajan's case. Copies of the report dated June 3, 1964, and of the respective explanations submitted by the respective petitioners have been filed in this case as Annexure A. 1 and Annexure A. II to the affidavit of Shri S. R. Nayar, Assistant Director-cum-Registrar (Examinations), Technical Education Directorate, Punjab, Chandigarh, dated May 4, 1965.

16. Mr. Rajinder Sachar, learned counsel appearing for the petitioners in all these cases was well advised in fairly and frankly conceding that he could not ask me to go into the disputed questioned of fact as to whether these petitioners had deliberately taken the unauthorised papers in question to the examination hall or whether it was an act of sheer inadvertence. The factum of the papers having been taken by them to the examination hall and their having been detected by the invigilator concerned and having been seized by the examination authority had indeed not beer disputed before me for the purposes of these writ petitions. Three contentions have been raised by Mr. Sachar in these cases.

17. Firstly, it has been contended that the petitioners have not been afforded any adequate opportunity to show cause against their proposed disqualification for two years and that the explanation sought for at the spot or even the one given on June 5, 1964 is not substitute for the opportunity which the Examination Committee was bound to afford to the petitioners before pronouncing against them. It is further contended by the learned counsel for the petitioners that the Superintendent of the examination hall was bound under Rule 13 of the relevant Rules (reproduced in para 7 of the writ petition) to expel the petitioner from the examination hall and not to permit him to take the examination if the petitioner had been found using unfair means in connection with that examination, that the Superintendent having taken the explanation and not having so expelled the petitioners is presumed to have exonerated the candidates of the charge against them and that in any case if any further action under any other rule was sought to be taken by the authorities after the petitioners were so exonerated, a fresh chance to explain their conduct was necessary to be given to the petitioners.

It is further urged by Mr. Sachar that in any case none of the petitioners was admittedly ever given any opportunity to show cause why they should not be expelled for two years and why a lesser penalty should not be imposed on them when Rule 16 of the relevant Rules leaves it to the discretion of the Examination Committee to determine the period of disqualification without any material merely keeping in view the nature of the offence. It was also contended that on the analogy of the Punjab University Rules it should be held that in case where any unauthorised paper is found with a candidate on account of inadvertence and it is not used in answering the question paper, the candidate could not be disqualified for two years. Reference has been made in this connection to Rule 11 of the Punjab University Calendar for 1962. It is pointed out that in case of inadvertent possession of unauthorised papers, the penalty is disqualification for one year and it is only in case of mala fide possession and use of unauthorised paperin an examination hall that the penalty of two years disqualification could be inflicted.

18. The third point raised by the learned counsel is that Rule 16 under which the petitioners had been punished is unconstitutional in so far as it vests unlimited power in the Examination Committee to disqualify the candidate for any number of years without prescribing any criteria or guiding principle for measuring the punishment to be inflicted in each particular case.

19. A two-fold reply is given by the learned Advocate General to the first contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners. Firstly he states that what was the use of furnishing any further opportunity to the petitioners to show cause against their proposed disqualification when the facts are not disputed and when it cannot be conceived what possible explanation they could have given against their being disqualified for two years. It was secondly contended by the learned counsel for the respondent that in these particular cases adequate opportunity has in fact been afforded to each of the petitioners to show cause against the allegations on which they had been punished.

20. Regarding the first contention of Mr. Kaushal, I need at once state that if I hold that proper opportunity had not been afforded to any one of these petitioners, I would not for a moment speculate on what might have happened if such an opportunity had in fact been given or whether its absence in factprejudiced the petitioner concerned, for unless the requirements of the rules of natural justice enshrined in the maxim audi alteram partem were satisfied, I would have held that the Tribunal was acting illegally. It is settled law. That the mere fact that a Tribunal feels that even if an opportunity is granted to the accused person he cannot, in the circumstances of a particular case, give any plausible explanation whatever for his impugned conduct, is no justification for refusing to grant the requisite opportunity to the person charged. It has very often happened that conduct, which is thought to be inexplicable, is on such opportunity being given so well explained that Tribunals have to accept such an explanation.

21. But the main question is whether in fact the petitioners were duly informed of the specific charge against them, of the evidenceagainst them and were given sufficient opportunity to have their say against the allegation made by the invigilator concerned in respect of each of them. On the facts of these cases, into which I have thoroughly gone and which have been substantially reproduced above, I hold that such opportunity had in fact been afforded in each of these cases to all the respective petitioners. In this view of the matter I need not refer to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Board of High School and intermediate Education, U.P., Allahabad v. Bagleshwar Prasad, 1963 All LJ 676 (SC), and to the judgment of this Court in Karamjit Kaur v. Punjab Universitv, 1964-66 Pun LR 674 : (AIR 1964 Punj 327) and to the Full Bench judgment in Ramesh Kapur v. Punjab University, AIR 1965 Punj 120 (FB) and the latest Division Bench judgment in Suresh Kumar v. Punjab University, 1965-67 Pun LR 693 : (AIR 1966 Punj 152) to which reference has been made by the learned counsel for the petitioners.

I must, however, deal in this connection with the unreported judgment of P. D. Sharma J. dated March 3, 1964, in Civil Writ No. 2340 of 1963 (Punj) Ramesh Chander Nohria v. Punjab State. Defence was taken in that case, on behalf of the punishing authority, that the petitioner had been heard by the Superintendent of the Examination and by the Principal and that it was not the requirement of natural justice that he should have been heard again by the Examination Committee. On the facts of that case it was found by the learned Judge that the Examination Committee held some sort of enquiry against the alleged misconduct of the petitioner but did not give him a chance to explain the evidence collected against him or to put forward his version of the incident, and that the decision against the candidate had been taken ex parte. It was in those circumstances that P. D. Sharma J. held that it was necessary for the Examination Committee to hear the accused candidate before imposing upon him the penalty of disqualification. I respectfully and entirely agree with the ratio of the judgment of P. D. Sharma J. but that is of no assistance to the petitioner at all. I have held in this case that the petitioners had been given every possible opportunity to explain their conduct before the impugned punishment was inflicted on them. In the case decided by Sharma J. it was found as a fact that no chance had been given to the candidate to explain the evidence collected against him.

22. It has already been held in the Full Bench judgment of this Court as well as in the latest dictum of the Division Bench (Dulat and Grover JJ.) in 1965-67 Pun LR 693: (AIR 1966 Punj 152) that each case has to be decided on its own facts. Whether adequate opportunity so as to satisfy the principles of natural justice has or has not been granted in a given case would always depend on the facts of that particular case and no general rule can be laid down in this respect. It would normally depend on the nature of the allegations, the admissions of the person concerned, the time allowed to him to explain his conduct, his explanation, if any, and whether any material beyond that, which was known to the accused person, was used against him by the punishing authority or not.

In this case there was no material before the Examination Committee, which was not known to the petitioner. The only report of the Superintendent is the report, which has been referred to above. The conduct of the petitioners, in their being found with the chits in the answer books and not in their pockets, in not handing them over in a straightforward manner to the invigilator and in its becoming necessary in the case of Vinod Kumar Mahajanfor the invigilator to 'snatch away' the chit and the attempt of some of the petitioners to destroy the paper itself to avoid its being taken over by the examination authority, do not appear to speak for the theory of innocent inadvertence. I, therefore, hold, on the facts of these cases, that there is no force in the first contention of the learned counsel for the petitioners.

23. Mr. Sachar has further invited my attention to the judgment of this Court (Harbans Singh J.) in Ram Chander v. Punjab University, 1963-65 Pun LR 632 : (AIR 1963 Punj 480) where it was held that except in a case where there is no controversy about facts, an explanation by the candidate given at the moment he is alleged to have used unfair means can be no substitute for the explanation that the candidate may offer on being told the exact version given by the Superintendent and the supervisory staff from which an inference about his having used unfair means is sought to be drawn.

I do not for a moment disagree with what the learned Judge held in that case. That has, however, no application to the facts of the instant cases. The exact version given by the Superintendent and the supervisory staff was reduced to writing in the presence of the candidate concerned even before they tendered their explanation on June 5, 1964, and it is not the case of either party that any further material was produced by the Superintendent or the supervisor etc. of the examination before the punishing committee. Mr. Sachar referred to paragraph 10 of the written statement of the respondents and said that the report of the Superintendent, which the Examination Committee is stated to have considered, has not been made available to the petitioner, but copies of the report have been filed with the written statement and they do not consist of a word more than what was recorded in the examination hall on June, 3, 1964.

24. The second argument emerging out of the first point, urged by Mr. Sachar, was that in any case no opportunity was given to the petitioners to show cause against the quatum of punishment to be inflicted on them. On the record before me, I do not find any force in this contention either. In the joint written representations made by the petitioners, they specifically set out the circumstances which they thought to be mitigating and have specifically prayed.

'that regarding the punishment for such act, we humbly approach your goodself to reconsider the decision taking a lenient view in our favour etc. etc.'

Nor is it the case of any one of the petitioners that they had at any time asked for any further opportunity, which was refused to them. Oral hearing is not necessary to satisfy the principles of natural justice in every case. Though, as stated above, I would not have speculated for a moment about what the petitioners might have said before the Examination Committee if they had been called upon to appear before it, it is patent in these cases that they had actually said in writing whatever they wanted to say and had never asked for any further opportunity to be heard at any stage.

25. Mr. J. N. Kaushal, learned Advocate General, has invited my attention to three judgments of this Court. The first is the judgment of Grover J. dated May 6, 1964, in Darshan Singh v. Director, Technical Education, Punjab, Civil Writ No. 1503 of 1963 (Punj). The second is the unreported judgment of P. C. Pandit J. dated January 7, 1965 in Jyoti Ram Garg v. Punjab State Board of Technical Education, Chandigarh, (Civil Writ No. 2195 of 1964) (Punj), in which the learned Judge appears to have followed the ratio of the judgment of Grover J. The third case, which appears to be almost on all fours with the instant cases, is the judgment of a Division Bench of this Court (Dulat and Pandit JJ.) in Surrinder Kumar v. Punjab University, 1962-64 Pun LR 944 where it was held as follows:

'Where the candidate was caught red-handed with a hand written chit, which was found under his table, the chit contained certain formulae, which were relevant to the subject in which he was appearing, the matter was brought to the notice of the Superintendent, the explanation of the candidate was recorded in his own handwriting, it was found that the chit had a striking resemblance with that of the candidate in his answer book and he was informed at that very time that the matter would be reported to the University, the matter was so reported with all the documents and the Standing Committee disqualified the candidate: Held, that the decision of the Standing Committee was in accordance with the provisions of regulations 11 and 19 framed under the University Act.'

26. It can safely be said that the candidates in the instant cases were also caught red-handed and whatever material was available against them was collected at the spot in the presence of the candidate, and nothing whatever was added to the material after June 3, 1964, except their own written statements of June 5, 1964. This contention of Mr. Rajinder Sachar also fails.

27. This leaves me with the last argument of the learned counsel for the petitioners, i.e. impugning the vires of Rule 16 of the Rules framed for the conduct of the State Board Examination for Diploma in Production Engineering. The rule is reproduced below:

'The report of the Superintendent together with the other documents shall be placed before the Examination Committee. The Committee shall determine the period of disqualification keeping in view the nature of offence.'

28. I think there is a definite guiding principle contained in this rule. In leaving the quantum of punishment to the discretion of the Examination Committee, it has been clearly said that the guiding principle for determining the number of years for which a candidate may be disqualified, is that the committee will keep in view the nature of the offence. That punishment should be commensurate with the offence, is a well-known principle and this principle has been explicitly enshrined in the rule. The mere fact that the rule does not contain any express provision for the Examination Committee to allow an opportunity to the candidate concerned before giving its decision, is not enough to render the rule invalid. A provision to that effect would always be supplied by the principles of natural justice irrespective of the fact whether it is contained in the relevant statutory provision or not. As I have held in this case that adequate opportunity was in fact afforded to the petitioners, it is wholly unnecessary to conjecture on what would have happened if such an opportunity would not have been granted.

29. This brings to an end the contentions raised before me. There is, however, a vital matter which needs attention in these cases. These petitioners must have been substantially upset on being detected with the unauthorised papers. In normal course they might not have had comfortable sleep for several days after the incident. They must further have received mental shock when they were deprived of taking their second year examination in the course of it. They do appear to have expressed remorse, though with caution, in their written representations. They have no doubt subsequently gone back on their admissions, though they did admit all the relevant facts in their written explanations of the 5th June, 1964. They have faced the expense and inconvenience of litigation in this Court. In the circumstances explained above, their result for the First Year was not withheld in the sense that they were even allowed to take the Second Year examination and they are now stated to be actually studying in the third year of the course of Production Engineering. They have spent substantial amounts on studies during this period.

The normal result of the impugned orders being upheld would be that they would have to rejoin the First Year course in this month and would be entitled to reappear in the First Year examination in July 1966. This result, in the peculiar circumstances of these cases, appears to me to be harsh and amounts to punishing these candidates to a much higher extent than appears to have been intended by the Examination Committee, which could not at that time predict the situation which has resulted from the subsequent events. I cannot, however, do anything in this matter as the extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution is a limited one. When the above mentioned aspect of the case was put to Shri Kaushal, the learned Advocate General, he was sympathetic with these boys who have certainly not done any good thing and he assured the Court that he would convey to the appropriate authorities the feelings of the Court in this respect and would advise the authorities to see their way to remit the punishment inflicted upon the petitioners or to pass such other orders which may not now result in the petitioners, who are studying in the Third Year class, to be relegated to the First Year again.

The case was adjourned to enable the learned Advocate General to contact the appropriate authorities and to apprise me of their reaction to this aspect of the matter. Mr. Sachar for the petitioners and Mr. Kaushai, for the respondents, then appeared before me yesterday (27th July, 1965) and mentioned this case. The Advocate General has stated that he has contacted the Director of the Institution, who has asked the learned counsel to assure the Court that if any such course is suggested by me, the appropriate authorities would, in respect for the same, do whatever is possible in that direction. After all, the object of disqualifying is to punish and to deter and I think by now, in these cases, both the objects have been fulfilled. I have no doubt that the authorities would, in the changed circumstances, now treat these petitioners with leniency and remit the punishment inflicted on them even without exonerating them of the charge of which they were found to be guilty.

30. Except for the above observations, I regret I am not able to interfere in these cases with the impugned orders passed by the domestic Tribunal, which orders are not shown to have been unjustified. No legal flaw whatever has been found therein. These petitions, therefore, fail and are dismissed. In view of the punishment already suffered by the petitioners, I do not think it is necessary to burden them with the costs of the proceedings in this Court. There will, therefore, be no order as to costs.


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