1. These appeals raise the question whether the Academic Council of theMysore University was competent in exercise of the powers conferred by Sections 22,23 and 43 of the Mysore University Act 23 of 1956 to frame Clause 3(c) of theRegulations relating to the grant of the degree for Bachelor of Veterinary Science(B.V.Sc.). The Mysore University Act 23 of 1956 - hereinafter referred to as'the Act' - was enacted to provide for the reorganisation of the University ofMysore and other incidental matters. The powers of the University are describedin s. 4. Section 21 provides for the constitution of the Academic Council -which is one of the authorities of the University designated under s. 13 - ands. 22 sets out the powers of the Academic Council. It provides :
'The Academic Council shall, subject to theprovisions of this Act, have the control and general regulation of teaching,courses of studies to be pursued, and maintenance of the standards thereof andshall exercise such other powers and perform such other duties as may beprescribed.'
2. By s. 23 other powers of the Academic Council are prescribed. Insofar asit is material, the section provides :
'In particular and withoutprejudice to the generality of the powers specified in section 22, the AcademicCouncil shall have, subject to the provisions of this Act, the followingpowers, namely :
(a) X X X X
(b) X X X X
(c) to make Regulations relatingto courses, schemes of examinations and conditions on which students shall beadmitted to the examinations, degrees, diplomas, certificates and otheracademic distinction;'
3. Section 43 of the Act sets out the scope of the Regulations. It enact :
'Subject to the provisionsof this Act, the Regulations may provide for the exercise of all or any of thepowers, enumerated in 'sections 22 and 23 of this Act and for thefollowing matters, namely :
(i) the admission of studentsto the University;
(ii) the recognition of theexaminations and degrees of other Universities as equivalent to theexaminations and degrees of the University;
(iii) the University coursesand examinations and the conditions on which students of the University andaffiliated colleges and other University institutions shall be admitted to examinationsfor the degrees, diplomas and certificates of the University; and
(iv) the granting ofexemptions.'
4. In exercise of the powers conferred by Sections22, 23 and 43, the AcademicCouncil made Regulations relating to the grant of a degree for Bachelor ofVeterinary Science. Clause 3(c) of the Regulations is as follows :
'No candidate who fails four times shall bepermitted to continue the course.'
5. The Mysore Veterinary College, Hebbal, Bangalore, is one of the collegesaffiliated to the University of Mysore for training students for the degreecourse in Bachelor of Veterinary Science (B.V.Sc.).
6. These two appeals arise on facts which are closely parallel. Gopala Gowda- respondent in C.A. No. 565 of 1963 - was admitted in the year 1958 as astudent in the First Year Course in the Mysore Veterinary College. Gopala Gowdawas declared unsuccessful in four successive First Year Course examinations.The Controller of Examinations, Mysore University, then informed Gopala Gowdaby letter dated August 2, 1961 that he 'had lost' his right tocontinue studies for the Bachelor Veterinary Science (B.V.Sc.) course underRegulation 3(c) of the Regulations governing the course of study framed by theUniversity leading to the degree of the Bachelor of Veterinary Science(B.V.Sc.). Gopala Gowda then presented a petition in the High Court of Mysorepraying that, for reasons set out in his affidavit, the High Court do issue awrit quashing the order communicated by the Controller of Examinations in hisletter dated August 2, 1961 and do further direct the University of Mysore andthe Controller of Examinations to permit him to appear for the subsequentexaminations and to prosecute his training for the Bachelor of VeterinaryScience Course. The other respondent Bheemappa Reddy had also failed to satisfythe examiners in four successive First Year Course examinations commencing fromApril 1959, and on being intimated by the Controller of Examinations that hewill not be permitted to continue his training for the Bachelor of VeterinaryScience (B.V.Sc.) course under Regulation 3(c), he filed a similar writpetition in the High Court. The High Court of Mysore held that Regulation 3(c)of the Regulations governing the course of study leading to conferment of thedegree of Bachelor of Veterinary Science of the Mysore University could not besaid 'to subserve the purpose of maintaining the standards mentioned in s.22 of the Mysore University Act' and on that account was beyond thecompetence of the Academic Council or the University and those bodies had nopower to prevent Gopala Gowda and Bheemappa from prosecuting their studies and fromappearing at the subsequent examinations. With special leave, the University ofMysore, the Controller of Examinations and the Principal of the MysoreVeterinary College, have appealed.
7. In the view of the High Court, under s. 22 of the Act the AcademicCouncil could prescribe minimum qualifications for admission to a degree coursein an affiliated college, and also could prescribe standards which qualify acandidate for admission to the degree or academic distinction, but the Councilhad not the power to prescribe a condition on the satisfaction of which astudent admitted to the Course could prosecute his study in the course to whichhe had been admitted. Power to frame Regulations for 'maintenance ofstandards' within the meaning of s. 22 and prescribing conditions on whicha student shall be admitted to an examination within the meaning of s. 23(3)(c)did not, in the opinion of the High Court, import power to make Regulationpreventing a student admitted to a course from prosecuting his study, for theonly consequence of failure in an examination is that the student does notqualify himself for admission to the degree sought by him, and the Universitywould be entitled to withhold conferment of the degree, but not to obstruct theprosecution of the course of study. The expression 'maintenance ofstandards' in the view of the High Court could only take in considerationssuch as undergoing a course of study and keeping a prescribed minimumattendance to an institution maintained or recognised by the University, but itdoes not and 'cannot be taken to mean that by reason only of the fact thata student has not attained the standard of knowledge or proficiency requiredfor passing the examination within that period, he can be said to be for all timesincapable of attaining that standard.' The High Court proceeded to observe'The power to maintain certain standards before a degree or other academicdistinction is conferred upon a person involves the power to withhold theconferment of that degree unless a person attains the necessary standard, butit cannot either in logic or in justice involve the power to refuse to permit aperson to attain that standard. That power can and should be exercised at thetime of admission into the course of study if the University is of the opinionthat the applicant for admission into the course does not even possess theminimum suitability for taking that course of study. Once it admits him intothe course of study, it must be held to have entertained the opinion that he doeshave the minimum suitability to take that course which means that he had thecapacity by undergoing the course of study to attain the standard necessary forreceiving the degree.'
8. We are unable to agree with the view expressed by the High Court. The AcademicCouncil is invested with the power of controlling and generally regulatingteaching, courses of studies to be pursued, and maintenance of the standardsthereof, and for those purposes the Academic Council is competent to makeregulations, amongst others, relating the courses, schemes of examinations andconditions on which students shall be admitted to the examinations, degrees,diplomas, certificates and other academic distinctions. The Academic Council isthereby invested with power to control the entire academic life of the studentfrom the stage of admission to a course of study to the ultimate conferment ofa degree or academic distinction. Admission to a course or branch of studydepending upon possession of the minimum qualifications prescribed does notdivest the Academic Council of its control over the academic career of thestudent, for the Council has for maintaining standards the power to prescribeschemes of examinations, and also to prescribe conditions on which studentsshall be admitted to the examinations. Power to prescribe conditions on which astudent may be admitted to the examinations, in our opinion, necessarilyimplies the power to refuse to admit a student in certain contingencies, forthe power to admit to an examination implies the power to weed out students whohave on the application of a reasonable test proved themselves to be unfit tocontinue the course or prosecute training in that course. If on account ofgeneral inaptitude for being trained in a course or on account of superveningdisability to prosecute a course of study, a student admitted to that course isfound by the Academic Council to be unfit to prosecute his training, it would,in our judgment, be within the power of the Academic Council, in exercise ofits authority to control and maintain standards, and also of its authority toprescribe conditions on which students may be admitted to examinations, todirect that the student shall discontinue training in that course. And failureby a student to qualify for promotion or degree in four examinations, iscertainly a reasonable test of such inaptitude or supervening disability. Ifafter securing admission to an institution imparting training for professionalcourses, a student may be held entitled to continue indefinitely to attend theinstitution without adequate application and to continue to offer himself forsuccessive examinations, a lowering of academic standards would inevitablyresult. Power to maintain standards in the course of studies, in our judgment, confersauthority not merely to prescribe minimum qualifications for admission, coursesof study, and minimum attendance at an institution which may qualify thestudent for admission to the examination, but also authority to refuse to granta degree, diploma, certificate or other academic distinction to students whofail to satisfy the examiners at the final examination, and to direct that astudent who is proved not to have the ability or the aptitude to complete thecourse within a reasonable time to discontinue the course. There is no warrantfor restricting the expression 'maintenance of the standards' only tomatters such as minimum attendance, length of the course and prescription ofminimum academic attainments.
9. The High Court was therefore in error in holding that the AcademicCouncil had no power to prescribe Regulation 3(c). We are informed at the Bar,however, that since the High Court decided the case on January 31, 1962, thetwo respondents were permitted to continue their courses of study and they haveappeared for the subsequent examinations and they were declared to have dulypassed their second and third year examination and have been permitted to keepterms for the degree examination. Even though, the view taken by the High Courtwas erroneous, we do not think, having regard to the fact that the respondentswere permitted to continue their course of study, the University not havingapplied for any interim orders pending disposal of these appeals, that anyorder should be passed in these appeals so as to deprive the respondents of thetraining they have received. These appeals are filed with special leave, and inthe exceptional circumstances of the case, we do not think we would bejustified, merely because we disagree with the interpretation of the High Courtof the relevant regulation, in making an effective order against therespondents so as to nullify the results declared by the University concerningthem in respect of the second and third year examinations.
10. The appeals are therefore dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.
11. Appeals dismissed.