Ranganath Misra J.
1. Each of these appeals is by special leave and is directed against the decision of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in separate writ petitions. A common question is involved in all the three matters and that relates to a correct interpretation of Rule 27.1(a) in Chapter III of the Punjab University Regulations.
2. Respondents in each of these appeals was a student of the Punjab University for the Master Degree in Law (LL.M.). Rule
High Court went wrong in taking the view that when a candidate reappeared to clear a paper or a subject on being found eligible to do so, Clause (a) was attracted. The language of Clause (b) is such as would squarely apply to such a situation. Having taken the view that Clause (a) governed the matter, the High Court had no occasion to express any opinion as to if Clause (b) applied what benefit the candidate would have got. The provision in Clause (b) is clear and on reappearing the candidate becomes entitled to grace marks of up to one per cent of the total marks of the subject/subjects in which he reappears. Once Clause (b) applies no reference is available to the performance in the regular examination taken earlier and the benefit of grace marks to the extent indicated has to be confined to the performance at the reappearance.
3. Once this is the position each of the candidates was not eligible to pass. We, however, find that a direction was given in this Court on 19.6.80 on the concession of the University that the respondents in the two appeals of 1980 would be declared to have passed irrespective of the result of the appeals. Learned Counsel appearing for the University before us reiterated his consent and even agreed that the respondent in the remaining appeal may be given the same advantage as the University did not intend to make any discrimination. In view of this special feature we do not disturb the declaration of the University that each of the respondents has passed the examination taken by him or her.
4. We must indicate our disapproval of the position obtaining in the Punjab University that in respect of post-graduate degrees grace marks are being awarded. A master's degree in any speciality is considered to be the highest qualification in the normal run. It is very much necessary that such a degree should be conferred only on the deserving students who having studied the subject and taken the appropriate examination conducted by the University at the end of such studies have deserved the degree on the basis of their performance. There should be no scope for looking for grace marks at such level and the sooner the Punjab University abandons the practice of awarding grace marks in respect of postgraduate examinations the better it would be in the interest of higher education in this country.
5. We allow each of these appeals and set aside the judgments of the High Court in each of the writ petitions without any order for costs. To avoid confusion we reiterate that our vacating the the judgments of the High Court do not in any manner affect the declarations made in favour of the respondents by the appellant-University in regard to passing of the Master Degree Examinations in law.