S. Ranganathan, J.
(1) The first petitioner in this writ petition in the Rao Tula Ram College Society. It was registered on 2nd March, 1965 under the Societies' Registration Act (Act 30 of 1860) as amended in 1957 and extended to the Union Territory of Delhi. The second petitioner. Rao Birender Singh, is the President of the above Society who was authorised by a resolution passed by the Society at an emergent meeting held on 10th March, 1979 to take steps for challenging certain action taken by the respondents which according to the petitioners was arbitrary and illegal. The first respondent is the University of Delhi through the Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University. The second respondent (hereinafter referred to as the 'R-2') is Sri K. B. Rohatgi, Director of South Delhi Campus of Delhi University.
(2) By the above writ petition the petitioners pray for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash a resolution of the Executive Council (EC) of the first respondent dated 6th March, 1979 and the further action taken in pursuance thereof by R-2 on 7th March, 1979. The Ec of the University at its meeting held on 6th March, 1979 is stated to have been satisfied with the affairs of the Rao Tula Ram College which was being conducted by the petitioners 'were and are being managed in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the College, its teachers and students and in a manner prejudicial to the standard of teaching in the University', and to have, thereforee, resolved that '7 additional members be added to the Governing Body of the College' under the provisions of Statute 30(1)(D) of the Statutes of the University. The Ec nominated 7 persons to be such additional members. This decision was communicated by R-2 to the second petitioner by his letter dated 7th March, 1979 (Annexure Y to the writ petition), the contents of which. are impugned by the petitioners. By another communication (Annexure Z) of the same date R-2 also called upon the second petitioner to send 'the names of the nominees of the Trust for consideration and approval of the Executive Council of the University in accordance with the Statute 30(1)(C).' The petitioners challenge not only the action taken by the respondents in the above manner hut also the validity of the provisions of Statutes 30(1)(C) and 30(1)(D). They also seek a writ of prohibition restraining the respondents from interfering with the functioning of the members of the Governing Body who had been performing their functions since the beginning of the academic year.
(3) The resolution of the Ec dated 6th March, 1979 was the culmination of a long period of differences between the petitioners and the University of Delhi. We think that a proper idea of the entire controversy can be obtained only by a chronological narration of the entire history right from the beginning till the data of the impugned resolution and communications. As already stated the first petitioner Society was registered under the Societies Act on 2nd March. 1965. The objects for which the Society was established as set out in its Memorandum of Association included, inter alia, the following objects :
'3(A)To establish, develop and maintain an educational institution called Rao Tula Ram College at Delhi (recognised by the University of Delhi) and to manage, supervise and administer its affairs.' '3(b) To provide, establish, endow, maintain, control and manage Schools and other Educational Institutions and to do all acts and things necessary or conducive to the promotion of schools of the Montessory and Kinde .garten types, primary, Secondary, Higher, Commercial, Technical & Industrial Education at Delhi and elsewhere and for this purpose, to start, establish, conduct, maintain and manage Reading Rooms, Libraries, Laboratories, Gymnasiums, Quarters, and the like.' '3(f) To start and conduct Magazines, periodicals and Newspapers and issue pamphlets to carry on Educational propaganda and further the aims and objects of the Society by means by lectures and other means.' '3(m) To print, publish and exhibit any books, pamphlets or posters that may be considered desirable for the promotion of the objects of the Society.'
Clause (a) required that 'all deeds of transfer, leases and other documents relating to the immovable property of the Society shall be in the name of the Society and shall be signed by the President and Treasurer of the Governing Body jointly'. The following rules and regulations of the above society are also relevant :
'4.The Society shall consist of not less than nine and not more than fifteen members.' '5. The Members of the Society shall be elected equally by the Samiti and the Trust. If, however, the total number of the members of the Society is not even the Samiti shall be entitled to elect one more member.' '6. The Presidents of the Samiti and the Trust shall be ex-officio members of the Society and shall be alternately the President of the Society as well as of the Governing Body of the College.' '7. The members of the Society shall hold office for three years.' '8. The members of the First Governing Body shall also hold office for three years.' '9. A List of the names of the members of the Governing Body shall be filed with the Registrar, of Societies Delhi every year in the month of January.' '12. Fundamental Rules (a) The name of the Rao Tula Ram Coliege Society shall never be changed. (b) The name of any renowned personality once a.ssociated with any block of building constructed by the Society shall also never be changed (c) The members of the Society, and the Staff and all other persons employed by the Society whether honorary or paid shall : (i) Remain devoted to the ideals for which has society has been established that is the spirit of patriotism, nationalism and service before self. (ii) Make a special study of the lives of the great Saints, Heroes and Martyrs, who dedicated their lives for the upliftment of the people and to attain and preserve the freedom of the country and have revrence for them, particularly for those who are held in reverence by the promoters of the Society and make best endeavors to inclusate the spirit of reverence for them and faithfully cooperate with the management in celebrating: their anniversaries ant various functions arranged to commemorate their lives and deeds and this shall be considered as an essential part of their duty. (d) No person shah be entitled to remain a inember of the Society or remain in its service or in the service of any of the institutions started or run by the Society whether honorary or paid, if he fails to comply with the provisions of clause (c) and the decision of the Society in this regard shall be final and binding.' I? The Society may (i) create a body of missionaries who dedicate their lives for the fulfillment of the objects for which this Society has been started. (ii) entrusted the day to day management of the various institutions and other activities started or continued by the Society to such missionaries of the Society as are found suitable.' '15. Governing Body There shall be a Governing Body for Managing the affairs of the College. It shall consist of : (i) All members of the Society. (ii) At least two nominees of the Delhi University. (iii) Principal of the college. (iv) Two representatives of the teaching staff.' '18. Tenure Of Office The members of the Governing Body other than Principal and the teachers representative shall hold office for three years and shall be eligible for renomination or re-election. The term of teachers representatives shall be one year.' '20. Powers And Duties Of The Governing Body : The Governing Body shall be the Executive authority and shall have all the powers of control and management of the affairs of the College. The Acts statutes, Ordinances and Regulations of the University of Delhi which may be in force from time to time will however be always honoured by the Governing Body.' '21. Without prejudice to the generality of the powers given above the Governing Body shall : (i) .............. (ii) Appoint a Registrar or a Manager if necessary to look after the day to day administration of the college.' '23. The staff serving in the college or any of the institutions started or run by the Society or allied Trusts or Societies shall be liable to be transferred from one institution to the other in the interest of the institutions concerned and for the maintenance of the educational standard.' '25. Powers Of The Office Bearers : (A) The President. (i) Shall preside at, conduct and regulate all meetings of the Governing Body and any committee or sub-committee of which he may be a member and his rulings on any point of order and his decision as to the results of voting shall be final and conclusive. (ii) Shall be the Chief Executive Head for the Management of the college and shall for this purpose perform all or any of the functions on behalf of the Governing Body and shall have all the necessary perverse to enable him to discharge his duties efficiently. (ii) Shall be at liberty to spend for the purpose of the Society a sum up to Rs. 500/ without the previous approval of the Governing body provided that the expenditure incurred by the President without prior sanction shall be got approved from the Governing Body at its next meeting. (iv) May in an emergency in which in the opinion of the President, immediate action is requireed exercise any of the powers of the Governing Body as he may consider proper provided that the action taken by the President shall he placed before the Governing Body at its next meeting and the decision of the Governing Body shall be final.' '26. All suits on behalf of or against the Society shall be filed by or against the Treasurer.' '27. The Governing Body shall appoint a Secretary not being a member of the Governing Body who shall summon meetings, record proceedings and perform such other clerical function at the Governing Body may direct.'
(5) The 'Ashram' that is referred to in the above rules is Bhagwat Bhakti Ashram Trust and the 'Samiti' referred to is the Rao Tula Ram Smarak Samiti both of which were separately registered as charitable societies.
(6) The Society decided to start a college in New Delhi by way of a memorial to Rao Tula Ram, the great grandfather of the second petitioner. In pursuance of the above object the Society is stated to have acquired 10 acres of land on Rao Tula Ram Marg in South Delhi, it is also stated to have invested a sum of about Rs. 9 lacs on the development of the land and construction of buildings, providing fixtures and fittings, and equipment from its own sources and also incurred expenditure on the repair and maintenance of the buildings as well as for the other activities of the college. The college was declared open on 11th May. 1970 and started admitting students to B. A. (Pass) course classes in July, 1970. The college was affiliated to the Delhi University. This was intimated to the second petitioner by the Registrar of the University by his letter dated 30th May, 1970. By the above letter he informed the second petitioner that the University Grants Commission (UGC) had accepted in principle the recommendations of the University to permit the first petitioner Society to start a co-educational college from July, 1970. However , second petitioner was requested to arrange to send a confirmation which was required by the Ugc to the effect that the Society will abide by the provisions of the Statutes and Ordinances of the University in this behalf. By a letter dated 6th June, 1970 the second petitioner thanked the Registrar for his communication and confirmed that the Society would abide by the provisions of the Statute and Ordinances of the University governing the affiliated college. Subsequently, on 24th September, 1970 the Registrar addressed a letter to the Principal of the Rao Tula Ram College (hereinafter referred to as 'the Principal') referring to the undertaking given in the letter dated 6th June, 1970. He enclosed the model rules (Memorandum of Association and Rules for the Governing Bodies of Colleges) adopted by the Ec for the reference of the Principal. He requested that necessary action might be taken in the matter and copies of the Memorandum of Association and Rules of the Governing Body after adoption and the resolution of the Governing Body adopting the Memorandum of Association and the Rules of the Governing Body might be sent to the University for approval of the Ec as required under Statute 30(1) (C). Statute 30(1) (C) provides that the colleges and other institutions within the limits of the State of Delhi may be admitted to such privileges of the University as the Ec may decide on subject to be following conditions inter aha :
(I)Every such College or Institution shall have a regularly constituted Governing Body, consisting of not more than twenty persons approved by the Executive Council and including, among others, at least two representatives of the University and at least three representative of the teaching staff of whom the Principal of that College or institution shall be one. The rules relating to tile composition and personnel of the Governing Body, and those relating to other matters affecting the management of the College shall conform to the Statutes and the Ordinances of the University and the conditions of Government Grant to Colleges. Such rules and the personnel will require the approval of the Executive Council. Provided that the said condition shall not apply in the case of Colleges and Institutions maintained by Government which shall, however, have an Advisory Committee, which shall consist of among others, at least three teachers including the Principal of the College or Institution, and two representatives of the University.'
(7) According to the petitioners the college which started in 1970 was functioning smoothly till 1975 with the cooperation of the University. From the very beginning it is claimed that the first petitioner had been nominating ten members on the Governing Body (GB). In addition to the above ten members, there was the principal who acted as Secretary-Member and two representatives of the teaching staff as required by the Statutes and the Instructions of the University. The University also nominated two representatives from time to time. The minutes of the Governing Body were held from time to time and there were no acute differences of opinion or any serious hitch between the College and the University in the functioning of the former. The respondents do not accept the above version. According to them the petitioners had not registered the Governing Body as a Society distinct from the trust which sponsored the college as required by the Model Rules, had not put up propel buildings or met their commitment to the extent of 5 per cent of the annual recurring expenditure (95 per cent being met by the U. G. C.), had not been able to establish the college as a viable unit there having been no new courses introduced beyond the B. A. (Pass) 'Course for which there were only 160 students and had not made their nominations of members on the Governing Body in proper manner or in the prescribed pro-forma at any time with the result that the B.C. did not give its approval to the nominees of the Gb though it had appointed two representatives on it in the beginning in the hope that the petitioners would soon constitute the Gb property. The petitioners, however, had not complied with the Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations of the University and had also disregarded advice and instructions given by the University. It is not necessary to go into the details of these matters. But it is quite clear that there were rumblings which assumed larger proportions after some time and these may be indicated hers.
(8) On 7th August, 1972 an application was made to the Registrar of Societies for the registration of the Governing Body of Rao Tula Ram College as a society under the Societies Registration Act. This was because the model rules framed by the University regarding the constitution. rules and regulations of Governing Bodies of College-, contained, inter alia, the following provisions : The College should be run and maintained by a registered society. All leases, properties, documents and title deeds relating to properties moveable and immoveable of the Society should be in the name of the Society. In addition Rule 5 required :
'5.The membership of the society shall be identical with that of the Governing Body. The affairs of the society shall be administered and be vested in the Governing Body which shall be in accordance with and subject to the provision of the Act, Statutes, Ordinances, Regulations and Resolutions of the University of Delhi.'
This was, however, done by the petitioners with great reluctance. This appears from the letter dated 7th A.ugust, 1972 addressed by the second petitioner to the Registrar of the University. In this letter the second petitioner pointed out that the Governing Body of Rao Tula. Ram Collage Society is the duty constituted Governing Body of the first petitioner and fulfillled the requirements of the law and that it was not necessary to have the Governing Body registered separately. Such a stipulation, it was urged, was vocative of the fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution to form an association. It was pointed out that the model rules supplied by the University were not in accordance with law and contained a number of lacunae, which created a lot of difficulties. The insistence by the University that the Governing Body should be registered as a Society had been followed up by the University by withholding the grants available to the college as a result of which salary of the staff had not been paid from the month of April, 1972. However, it was stated that an application was being made to the Registrar of Societies. Enclosing a copy of the Memorandum of Association and Rules of the Gb of the college, it was pointed out that in the rules framed by the college certain deviations had been made from the model rules for which it was hoped that there would be no objection.
(9) On 16th August. 1972. the Registrar of Societies informed the second petitioner ''that the name of the above Society is not available for registration in our office under the A.ct of 1860.' This was duty intimated to the University. This was the first point of difference between the petitioners and the University. According to the University it was necessary that the Governing Body of the first petitioner Society should itself be registered as a Society under the 1860 Act, and this was condition precedent for the continued affiliation and recognition of the Rao Tula Ram College by the University. It also appears that since the above condition had not been fulfillled the grants to the college to be made from time to time were being withheld and this was creating great difficulty in the management of the college.
(10) Some time in 1973, it appears, there was a move on the part of the University to reduce the number of the nominees of the Trusts of affiliated colleges on the GB. This move was opposed by the petitioners and perhaps by some of the other colleges as well. In October. 1972 there was a move for the trustees of several college societies to meet and discuss the proposal made by the University. This proposal, however, appears to have petered out and it is not necessary to make any further reference to it. Its only importance is that it did not improve the relationship between the petitioners and the respondents. According lo the petitioners, when the efforts of the University Authorities and Officers to take over more and more powers of the management of these colleges into their own hands were frustrated by the petitioners and other colleges, the University mooted a proposal for amending the Delhi University Act in such a manner as to empower the University to take over colleges for a specific period but this did not succeed. It is, however, unnecessary to elaborate this point further except to mention that Statute 30(1 )(D) was inserted in the Statutes of the University with effect from 24-10-1973. This Statute provides as follows :
'(D)The Executive Council may, if it is satisfied, after such inquiry as it may think fit to make, that : (a) the affairs of such College or Institution are being managed in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the University or of such College or Institution or of the teachers or students thereof; or (b) teaching is being conducted in such College or Institution in a manner prejudicial to the standards of teaching in the University or any other activity of the University or to public interest, appoint to the regularly constituted Governing Body of such College or Institution such number of additional members, not being more than one- half of the total number of members of the Governing Body, and for such period as it may think fit but not exceeding three years on any one occasion : Provided that the person appointed as an additional member on the regularly constituted Governing Body of a College or Institution shall notwithstanding the expiry of the term of office of the members of the regularly constituted Governing Body, hold office as additional member of such Governing Body for the period specified in the order appointing him as such member but any such additional member may be recalled from his office as such at any time by the Executive Council and any other person may be appointed in his place to fill the vacancy caused by such recall.'
(11) Another development is, however, of some importance. It seems that soon after the college started functioning there was a conversation between the second petitioner and the Vice-Chancellor regarding the feasibility of the University taking over the college and running it. On 4th May, 1971 there was a letter sent by the Vice-Chancellor to the second petitioner and a reply of the second petitioner thereto was sent on 11th May, 1971 which indicate that there were some discussions in the matter. It is, however. not quite clear as to what exactly happened to this proposal. It later seems to have cropped up again but in a context more disadvantageous to the petitioner which will be referred to later. In the meanwhile, it appears, some time in July, 1972, the college had dismissed two teachers without the approval of the University. It also appears that an acting principal Sri K. C. Chaudhary was appointed without the approval of the University. These developments coupled with certain other alleged omissions on the part of the petitioner Society led the Ec to consider the action to be taken in respect of the college and its affairs. At a meeting held on 16th July, 1972 the Ec had come to the conclusion that the college had failed to comply with the following requirements of the Statutes, Ordinances and Regulations of the University in spite of repeated advice from the University :
(1)The College has not created the Endowment Fund as required under Ordinance xviii. (2) The College has not framed its Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations in accordance with the Model Rules prescribed by the University. (3) The Governng Body of the College lias not been registered as Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. (4) The land allotted for the College has not been registered in the name of the College' Governing Body. (5) The College has not sent applications of teachers appointed by it during the years 1970-71 and 1971-72 for their recognition as teachers of the University. (6) The College has not complied with the requirement of Ordinance xviii regarding appointment of the Acting Principal.'
In view of the above developments, after consulting the Academic Council, it had been proposed that action should be initiated against the College in terms of Statute 30(5) to wihdraw the privileges granted to the college. Statute 30(5) reads as follows :
'30(5)The Executive Council may, after consulting the Academic Council, withdraw any privileges granted to a College or Institution if at any time it considers that the College or Institution is not fulfillling the requisite conditions : Provided that before any privileges are so withdrawn the Governing Body shall be given an opportunity to represent to the Executive Council why such action should not be taken.'
At this stage the second petitioner held certain discussions with the Vice-Chancellor and agreed that the college could be taken over by the University subject to certain conditions and this proposal had been approved by the Ec at its meeting held on 14th October, 1972. In pursuance of the above resolution the matter had been referred to the Ugc which had called for certain information regarding the assets and liabilities of the Society by its letter dated 25th April, 1973. This information had not been supplied by the college. On 16th October, 1973 the Ec appointed a committee to inspect the college for purpose of satisfying itself that the conditions of the Ordinance were being compiled with by the college. Though meetings of this committee were convened in October, November and December, 1973, the meeting was eventually held on 19th May, 1975. As per the decision of this committee a letter was addressed to the Principal drawing his attention to the delay with regard to (1) registration of the Governing Body of the college and (2) creation of endowment ^building fund of the college. The Principal of the college replied staling that the application of the Gb for registration had been rejected by the Registrar of Societies. Regarding the creation of endowment/building fund it was stated that all the funds of the college had been spent on buildings, equipment etc. and that the matching grants to be released by the UGC' against expenditure already incurred be set aside against endowment fund. It was also pointed out by the Principal that the land belonging to the college could not be transferred in the name of the Gb as Gb could not be registered separately as a Society.
(12) The above developments were placed before a meeting of the Ec called for 13th December, 1975 which had been called to consider the grant of approval to the names of the nominees of the trust on the Gb of the college for a period of one year with affect from 1-5-1975. At this meeting the Ec reviewed the earlier proceedings and after having considered the matter resolved that the authorities of the college should be asked to comply with the earlier decision taken by the Ec at its meeting held on 14th October, 1972 and supply the necessary information so that the same could be forwarded to the Ugc and further action could be taken with regard to the taking over the college by the University. Apparently as a method of forcing the college to take necessary steps the Ec resolved that in the meantime the approval to the nomination of the members on the Gb of the college should not be granted. This proposal for take over of the college by the University was indeed being processed with the UGC. On 22nd September, 1976 the Ugc addressed the University pointing out that the strength of the students in the college was less than 200 and calling upon the University to explain what steps it proposed to take to increase the enrolment in the institution. The second respondent wrote to the second petitioner on 21st February, 1977 pointing out that the steps remained to be ta.ken by the college before the University could take over the college in its existing liabilty, the correspondence placed before us (Annexures P 41 to P 44) also show that there had been a substantive agreement between the petitioners and the respondents regarding the conditions of take over and even a resolution and an agreement embodying the conditions of take over were proposed and agreed to between the parties. The matter, however, though finalised by the University, was pending with the UGC. On 16th February, 1979 the Ugc wrote a letter to the Vice-Chancellor of the University intimating that the Ugc had accepted the proposal of the Delhi University to the taking over the college subject to the concurrence of the Government. It was stated that the Ministry wanted a statement showing the assets and liabilities in college and also the specific financial liability involved in taking over of the college. On 20th February, 1979 the second respondent wrote to the principal of the college conveying the decision of the Ugc and requesting the Principal to send immediately a statement indicating the assets and liailities of the college as on 1st April, 1978 and also the specific financial liabilities involved in the taking over of the college. All this correspondence goes to show that when the University felt in 1972 that the college was not complying some of the rules and regulations it had mooted a proposal for the take over of the college by the University and this was under serious consideration with the Ugc till January, 1979 and that thereafter the matter was pending with the Government for its approval. It may be emphasised, as will indeed be clear from the foregoing narration, that the proposal for take over was a result of consensus between the college on the one hand and the respondents on the other.
(13) Perhaps if matters had been allowed to run their normal course, the Government would have eventiia.lly approved the proposal for take over and everything would have been smooth sailing. Unfortunately three major developments took place in 1978 which precipitated a crisis. The first of these related to the appointment of one W.E. John. The college had appointed him as a lecturer in English against a temporary post advertised as such. We had been appointed on the recommendation of a selection committee after obtaining the necessary approval from the University. The period of his appointment came to an end on 15th May. 1978 and according to the petitioners there was no need for a temporary lecturer in English beyond that date. In the meantime, it appears there was a general problem regarding the regularisation of temporary teachers in various colleges of the University. The problem was of such a magnitude that the Vice-Chancellor had appointed a committee to consider the issue in all its aspects and submit a report. The committee reported as follows :
'I.. . it had already been agreed to regularise appointments on substantive basis, the following categories of temporary teachers : (i) Candidates appointed against posts which were advertised as permanent; (ii) Candidates appointed against posts which were advertised as temporary but likely to continue; and (iii) Candidates appointed against posts, the nature of which was not specified in the advertisement. It was also noted that (a) the above decision would not cover appointees in whose cases the Selection Committee had made a definite observation to the effect that temporary appointments were being made because no candidate was found suitable for permanent appointment; and (b) with regard to category (iii) above, there could be specific cases where posts advertised were undefined but were actually meant to be temporary and were filled as such and that the Committee, however, had agreed that while such exceptions need not affect the above decisions, these cases might be specifically looked into. II. With regard to teachers who were appointed on a temporary basis against posts which were advertised as temporary, it was noted that the Committee had reported that a consensus could not be arrived at on the question, and that one of the 1033 members of the Committee had made a suggestion that, pending a final solution to the problem, the colleges be advised to extend the term of these temporary teachers for a maximum period of one year, but that, however the other members in the Committee had expressed the feeling that this was a matter for an executive decision to be taken by the appropriate authorities.'
The Ec considered the above report at its meetings held on 14-4-78 and 28-4-78 and also considered the matter carefully in all its details and from various aspects and resolved as follows :
'That, pending a final decision of the problem, the term of these teachers be extended not beyond a period of one year and that the Committee appointed by the Vice-Chancellor be requested to submit its report expeditiously, so that the teachers are not left in a state of uncertainty. It was also decided that while granting extension as mentioned above, if any other teacher had been appointed in the same subject in the same institution in a leave vacancy of one year or more and his term was likely to and during this period of extension under the above clause. cases of such teachers would be reviewed at that point of time vis-a-vis other temporary teacher (s) in the same subject and in the same institution.' The Ec also resolved that the recommendations of the Committee be accepted and that the appointments of three categories of temporary teachers be regularised on substantive basis. The categories set out are those covered by paragraph I of the Committee's recommendation. The Gb of the college considered the resolution of the Ec at its meeting on 14th May, 1978. This resolution is to the following effect : '4. It was resolved that this College could not afford to retain Shri William John on its staff as there was no work at all for him. The post in which he was employed was advertised as a temporary post and the Selection Committee including the University representative had only recommended as temporary employment till the end of the academic year. In case the University wants to accommodate such temporary hands it may be requested to get Shri William John employed in some other college where a temporary vacancy night occur and there may be teaching work for him. copy of the resolution may also be forwarded to the Secretary, University Grants Commission for intimation, so that the University Grants Commission may be able to take a policy decision as to whether it would be willing to meet the entire pay and allowances of a temporary hand in college staff without any teaching work for him.'
But apparently W. E. John was pressing his case before the University Authorities and they were in turn pressing the college to extend the appointment of W.E. John beyond 14th May, 1978. By his letter to R-2 dated 26th July, 1978 the Principal, after referring to the resolution of the Gb, dated 26th May, 1978, asked for a clarification as to whether the Ec, resolution was intended also to cover cases 'in which there is no work for the teacher in the College during the period of extension and he is surplus to the sanctioned strength on the basis of teacher/pupil ratio'. The very next day, i.e., 27th July, 1978 R-2 confirmed that such was the position but stated that the matter was also being taken up separately by the University with- the Ugc as there was a common problem concerning all colleges. On 29th July, 1978 the Principal wrote back to JR-2 acknowledging receipt of the letter dated 27th July, 1978 and requesting that the decision of the Ugc in the matter should be conveyed so that the same could be placed before the Gb of the colledge for its consideration. On 1st August, 1978 R-2 wrote back expressing his surprise at the failure of the college to implement the resolution of the Ec irrespective of the pupil/ teachers ratio. All the colleges in the University had implemented the Ec resolution. He again requested the Principal to extend the services of W.E. John by one year, i.e.. up to the end of current academic year immediately under intimation to him. Finding himself badly pressed by the University the Principal evolved a solution. He found that a lecturer in English had applied for Maternity Leave. He wrote to the Head of the Department of English in the University to approve the appointment of W.E. John in the leave vacancy. The approval was given. Dr. A.N. Kaul, Head of the Department, stated that since Mr. John had been selected by a regular Selection Committee, he had no objection to the proposal but pointed out that if it was an ad hoc appointment it would not be renewed of extended beyond a period of 3 months. W.E. John was thus appointed in a leave vacancy for three months from 16-8-78. The failure of the college to extend the appointment of W.E. John till the end of the academic year was taken serious note of by R-2 who insisted upon the extension in his letters addressed to the Principal on 27-10-1978, 29-11-1978 and 16-12-1978, making it clear in the second of these letters that the appointment will qualify for the Ugc grant. The Principal replied to the first of these letters on 6-11-1978 explaining his stand; the second he answered on 8-12-1978 saying that John had left the college and asking whether he should be appointed again; and to the third, he replied on 23-12-1978 that John 'had not reported for duty to the undersigned as yet'. At this stage, it may also be mentioned that the respondents do not accept the everments of the petitioners that there was no need for an additional lecturer on the basis of the teacher/pupil ratio. They point out that, even according to a statement got prepared by the Principal from one of the lecturers on 21st August, 1978 the college did have the need of an extra lecturer in English at the relevant time. Their version is that the College was trying to get rid of John for some extraneous reasons, that John had not left the College on the expiry of his term and that, though he was regularly coming to the college, he was not treated as in service after 15-11-1978 and was not allowed to take classes after that date. This was the first development in the course of this academic year which severely strained the relationship between the petitioners and the respondents, in particular R-2 who was the Director-in charge of the South Campus of the Delhi University. The case of the respondents is that the college authorities and the principal were deliberately flouting the resolution and instructions of the Ec in this matter.
(14) The second major development took place on 29th August, 1978. This was a sudden strike declared by the students. According to the everments in the writ petition some students of the college suddenly boycotted the classes from this date and when efforts were made to find out from them regarding the reasons for their boycotting the classes no reply was given. For the first time on 31st August, 1978 five students of the college informed the principal that they wanted to form a college union and elections should be held in order to obtain students' representation on the college management. According to the petitioners, the Principal told the students that he would certainly consider the demand but they should not boycott the classes without even first raising the demand and without giving time to the authorities to consider it. Again on 2nd September, 1978 some students had made certain false allegations against the college authorities and the staff. According to the Principal when the position was explained to the studens, they expressed regret and admitted that they were misinformed. On 3rd September, 1978 one of the students described himself as 'President of the Students Welfare Council' and gave a press interview in which the principal grievance voiced was that the students should be allowed to form a union, allowed to vote and hold elections. There were certain other allegations as well. There was also a demand that the University should take over the college or re-admit the students in some other college in the University. The very next day, i.e. 4th September, 1978 the Principal issued an appeal to the students and requested them to come back to their studies. A reference was made in this appeal to the demands of the students 'for the modification in the composition of Student Committee of the College' and an assurance was given that the demands would be placed 'before the Students Advisory Committee of the year as soon as the members of the Committee are elected by the students after the resumption of normalcy in the College and they would be entrusted the work of suggesting the modifications required in the pattern of the Students Advisory Committee'. In the meantime to avoid tension in the college atmosphere the Principal suspended the teaching work in the college for seven days, namely, 4th September, 1978 to 10th September, 1978. Considering that this appeal had no effect, the Principal suspended three students and issued a charge sheet to them. An Advocate was appointed as the Enquiry Officer and he is stated to have completed the enquiry which, however, was boycotted by the students. In the meanwhile, apparently, the students also carried their grievances to R-2 who attempted to mediate in the dispute between the students and the Principal. He had discussions with both parties. It appears that he had suggested to the Principal that a students' union should be formed as early as possible and to the students that they should withdraw the allegations made against the Principal. The three students who had been suspended had also to be re-instated on their expressing their regret in writing. This compromise formula was set out in the letter of R-2 to the Principal dated 20th Septemer, 1978. It is stated that in view of this understanding, the Principal who was awaiting the report of the enquiry officer as to the conduct of the suspended students revoked the order of suspension so that better atmosphere could prevail. It is averred in the petition that the Principal also drafted the constitution of the students' union and also announced the date for holding elections to various offices. It is stated that the draft constitution had also been shown to R-2 who had also suggested certain amendments in his own handwriting. But, it is said. the elections could not be held because the students either did not agree to the constitution as framed by the Principal or make any definite counter proposals. The result was that the teaching in the college had to be suspended again for three days between 28th September, 1978 and 30th September, 1978. According to the respondents, however, the demand for the formation of a students' union having a democratic constitution with directly elected office bearers, adequate funds and sufficient internal autonomy had been voiced even from the commencement of the academic session and that the strike was the consequence of the failure of the Principal to accedes to these demands. The Assistan Registrar of the University had forwarded the representation which the students made to R-2, to the Principal. The students also made a representation to the Prime Minister which was forwarded to the Registrar of the University for comments. The ViceChancellor, the Dean of Students' Welfare and R-2 also repeatedly made clear to the Principal that it was absolutely necessary that immediate steps for the constitution of a students' union should be taken. In spite of the repeated requests and reminders the Principal did not take any steps but took up the attitude that the question of formation of students' union could not be considered under the pressure of threat of agitating students and that the atmosphere was not conducive for considering what modifications, if any, were needed to the existing system of Students' Advisory Committee. With great difficulty the Principal was asked to prepare a draft constitution of the Union which was done. But, according to R-2, this document contained certain undemocratic features and so he made suggestions for modifications. These were brought to the notice of the Principal and it is alleged that the Principal ostensibly agreed to most of the suggestions and stated that he would like to consult the Chairman of the G.B. This was in January, 1979. However, the Principal did not take any action and allowed further time to lapse in the hope that the academic session itself would come to an end soon afterwards and this is what exactly happened. There was no union, in the result, during the academic year 1978-79 and the Principal did not offer any satisfactory solution to the demand of the students.
(15) Before passing on to the next major to event which led to the impugned action it is necessary to refer to a letter written by R-2 to the Principal on 27th October, 1978 This letter is important and may be set out in extenso :
'IThas been noticed that your College has not been observing the Acts, Statutes and Ordinance of the University and has been flouting the Directive issued by the University from time to time. Some of these have been brought to your notice earlier when the College dispensed with the services of two teachers. The College did not have a Governing Body registered under the Societies Registration Act as envisaged under the University Ordinance. The appointment of the Principal was made without following the procedure laid down in this regard by the Ordinance of the University and as such has not been approved by the University. This year also the University wrote to the College to extend the services of Shri W. E. John a lecturer in English as per E. C. Resolution of April 1978. The College totally disregarded the Directive of the University. The students of the College had been agitating for the formation of a Union. The University specially requested you a number of times to form the Union to end the agitation. Instead of holding the elections and forming the Union you' chose to suspend the three students. thus creating a situation where the College has not been functioning for the last two months. The Governing Body of the College has not distributed its share of deficit resulting in non-payment of salaries to teachers for a number of months. Under these circumstances. I have no option but lo report the whole matter to the Executive Council for appropriate action in the matter. I would request you to kindly send your observations on the points raised in this letter expeditiously so that your observations may also be placed before the Executive Council along with my letter. This may please be treated as Most URGENT.'
(16) It will be seen that the above letter refers to one additional circumstance as a result of which the G.B. of the College incurred the displeasure of the University and tins was the fact that it had not contributed its share of deficit resulting in non-payment of salaries to teachers for a number of months. It is common ground that the teachers of the College had not been paid their salaries since July, 1978. We have already referred to the fact that the students had gone on strike in the month of August, 1978 and that the College had been closed down for some period in September, 1978. The teachers of the College also went on strike from 1st November, 1978. On 18th October, 1978 the Staff Association of the college had discussed the issue of nonpayment of salary for the last three months and came to the conclusion that the regular payment of salaries was not possible until and linless 'the long pending issue of the take over of the College is settled immediately by the University'. The Association passed a resolution urging the University Authorities to take over the College immediately. The resolution also stated that if the arrears were not paid and regular payment in future not ensured and if the demand of take over was not met by the end of the month the Association would be forced to take recourse to direct action. The Staff Association also held a meeting on 25th October, 1978 and drew up an elaborate memorandum which was subsequently submitted to R-2. The demands made in this memorandum were also re-inforced by a representation made by the Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) to the Vice- Chancellor of the University on 27th October, 1973 drawing attention to the crisis in the College and requesting that steps should be taken to arrange for immediate payment of salaries to the teachers and for the take over of the College by the University. It is as a result of these representations that R-2 appears to have written the letter dated 27th October, 1978 already referrred to drawing the attention of the Principal and calling for his observations on the points raised in the letter. It may also be mentioned here (though it is not directly relevant for the purpose of deciding the issues in the present case) that the Staff Association also made a representation to the Education Minister and to the ViceChancsilor. The Delhi University Students Union CDUSU) also submitted a memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor on 8th November, 1978. The Principal of the College also appears to have made a statement to the press which called for a refutation by the members of the Staff Association. The Vice-Chancellor of the University on 29th November, 1978 wrote a letter to the President of Duta in which, inter alia, he stated as follows :
'ASI explained personally, the University is committed to the take over of the College and has iterated its decision on more than one occasion. . I am hopeful that it may be possible to finalise the decision of take over of this college within the next three months. If for any reason, this does not appear to be feasible, the University will not hesitate to take other appropriate actions in the matter.... The University will see to it that no teacher is victimised as a result of the present agitation; the University decision with regard to extension of services of Sh. William John in accordance with the E. C. Resolution is implemented and that the teachers are paid thoir salaries regularly.'
Thus, it will be seen that an agitation on behalf of the teachers had been gaining momentum in the month of October, 1978 and it culminated in a strike by the teachers with effect from 1st November, 1978, followed by a deterioration in relations between the college authorities on the one hand and the University and the teachers on the other.
(17) That the relations had deteriorated to a dangerous point is pinpointed by two steps, one taken by the college authorities and the other by the University authorities to which we have now to turn our attention. On 10th November, 1978 the Ec held a meeting at which it resolved to write to the Ugc again reiterating the decision that the University be permitted to take over the college. The meeting also appointed a committee consisting of three persons : Professors 1. P. Singh, A. N. Kaul and D. K. Singh, to look into the affairs of the College and to report if the College was being managed properly in the interests of its students and teachers and whether teaching was being conducted in an appropriate manner. This resolution was formally communicated to the Principal of the College on 13-11-1978 by R-2 and on 17th November, 1978 by the convener of the committee appointed by the E. C. But apparently the College got information earlier regarding the EC's proposals for a meeting of the Gb of the College was held on 30th November, 1978 under the chairmanship of the second petitioner at which a very detailed discussion took place regarding the strike of the students and members of the staff and the entire correspondence between the College, the University, the staff of the College, the students and the guardians of the students was looked into. The view was expressed that the action of the teachers 'in inciting the students to resort to strike for their personal ends' was unjustified. Reference was made to students meetings, addresses by the members of the staff and to letters from parents lo the Principal naming the teachers who were so inciting the students. A feeling was also expressed that the University Authorities had also encouraged the students and the staff in their uncalled for agitation. It was. thereforee, decided that the College should be closed till such time as the students display their desire to pursue their studies and the staff showed its keenness to do teaching work after restoring normalcy. A resolution was passed that the inembers of the staff who had been absenting themselves without leave or valid reasons 'shall not be paid for the period for which they had not attended to their work'. It was also resolved that the Chairman of the Gb should set up an enquiry against members of the staff who had indulged in serious misconduct and recommend appropriate action. The Gb further reviewed the situation obtaining for the past several years eversince the College Trust offered to hand over the management of the College to the University on mutual acceptable terms. It was felt that the University had not played a healthy role to incite the staff and had also been interfering in the internal management of the College in . violation of the University Statutes with a view to disrupt the smooth working of the College. It was mentioned that the delay in payment of the teachers' salaries was the direct result of the unhelpful and obstructive attitude of the University by not even approving the valid expenditure on the maintenance of the College and the failure to make a grant of even a single panny towards the expenditure incurred by the College on land its development, building and equipment. The Gb, thereforee, concluded that the University was deeply prejudiced against this College and the institution had no future if taken over by the University. Its staff also cannot be expected to get fair treatment from the University Authorities. The Gb, thereforee, resolved to withdraw its offer to hand over the College to the University as it was likely to frustrate the objects and jeopardise the good cause for which the institution was established. It is stated by the petitioner that a copy of the minutes of the above meeting were forwarded to the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi as well as to R-2 under a covering letter dated 14th November. 1978. The respondents deny the receipt of this letter but the petitioners have produced before us the peon-book showing the delivery of the letter of 14th November, 1970 among others to R-2.
(18) On 20th November, 1978 the Principal wrote a detailed reply to the letter of R-2 intimating the formation of committee to look into the affairs of the College. He stated that as a result of the agitation by the students and the teachers the Gb had decided to keep the College closed till normalcy was restored. This had also been intimated to R-2. He requested that a copy of the decision of the Ec should be furnished to him so that he could understand the true purport thereof and could take appropriate action thereon. He pointed out that he had to place the whole matter to be examined by the Gb of the College which was really the authority for management and maintenance of the College and must be brought into the picture before any enquiry is started. He called for certain clarifications regarding the basis for the appointment of the committee and the scope of its enquiry. As already mentioned the convener of the committee appointed by the Ec also wrote to the Principal on 17th November, 1978. After referring to the appointment of the committee he stated : 'I shall be highly obliged if you make it convenient to attend the meeting and inform the committee about the state of affairs of the College'. It was also added that the committee would seek and welcome the cooperation of concerned 'teachers, students members of Gb and members of the staff conducting this enquiry'. It was stated that such of the above persons who were in possession of relevant information concerning the affairs of the College could send the same to him. He also requested the Principal to notify the above information to all the concerned persons. To this letter again the Principal gave a reply on 21-11-1978. He pointed out that the College being closed it was not possible for him to get into touch with all the teachers and students and that he was putting up the contents of the letter on the Notice Board so that all concerned could see it. He added 'as regards the Gb it is for the University to decide whether it would like to correspond directly with the Gb and recognise it for the purpose of its enquiry.' In the context of this particular sentence it should be menioned that on 12th May, 1978 the petitioners had forwarded to the university a list of ten members nominated by the College Trust on the G.B. of the College. As mentioned earlier the University had withheld its consent to the nomination of the above members with the result that as on 21st November, 1978 the Gb of the College had not been recognised by the University. The Principal further sought certain clarification from the convener of the committee and also hoped that the committee will kindly supply to the College copies of all the allegations or information that may be produced before the committee or which may be taken into consideration by the Committee without which he pointed out his assistance in the enquiry would hardly have any meaning.
(19) The committee appointed by the E.C. held there meetings on 16-11-1978, 22-11-1978 and 23-11-1978 respectively. It interviewed three different sets of people: one was a group of nine teachers of the college (including Mr. W. E. John), the second was a group of six students of the college; and the third was a group of three guardians of the students. R2 was also interviewed. The Committee also considered the written memoranda received from several teachers, students and parents and these included three letters written by the Principal dated 6th, 20th 21st November, 1978. The report of the Committee read :
'AFTERperusal of the documents, memoranda and personal interviews with the persons named above, the finding of the Committee are as follows: 1. The major cause of the present stalemate of the college is the non-implementation by the college of the University directive to extending the services of a temporary lecturer, Mr. W. John and the non-formation of the college students union. Three students had been suspended although the suspension order was revoked pending enquiry into their conduct. The teachers of the college have not received their salaries since July, 1978. The teachers have been agitating to receive their salaries regularly and have been demanding immediate take over of the college by the University. The students have been agitating for the formation of the students union. withdrawal of suspension order and take over of the college by the University. The parents have been demanding that the college be reopened immediately and classes be run smoothly. Some students have also demanded restoration of classes. It has been reported that no classes have been held since August 29, 1978. The management has now closed the college for an indefinite period and it is not known how long the college will remain closed. The fact of the matter is that the college which is meant for imparting instruction to students is not doing so. We are of the opinion that the affairs of the college are being managed in a manner prejudicial to the interest of the college, its teachers and students.'
The report was submitted on 23rd November 1978.
(20) The above enquiry apart, it was considered imperative that some active steps be taken to reopen the college which had been closed down by the resolution of the Governing Body dated 13-11-1978. It appears that R2 had some discussions with the various parties. Ultimately, the students as well as the teachers were persuaded to withdraw their agitation and the management also agreed to reopen the college w.e.f. 4th December 1978. According to the college authorities this was done in the following circumstances:
'THEagitation was called of by the intervention of the University Authorities and the Chairman of the governing Body accepted the suggestion made by the University because he was assured that both students and teachers of the college have regretted their acts of indiscipline and unwanted agitation. A further assurance was given that the teachers will devote themselves sincerely to the cause of education and the students will perform their studies earnestly. It was because of these assurances that the college was reopened on December 4. 1978'. (Vide Principal's letter to R2 dated 5th March 1979 to be referred to later).
Indeed, there can be no doubt that the reopening of the college must have involved a certain amount of give and take on the part of all concerned. According to the respondents, Petitioner no. 2 had expressly 'agreed that there would be no victimisation of any teacher or student on account of the agitation' in November 1978. (Vide letter of R2 to the Principal dated 30th November 1978). In view of this compromise, R2 agreed to get the necessary grants released from the University Grants Commission. It will thus be seen that the crisis in the college had been sorted out to a considerable extent and peace had been restored to the campus of the college by 4th December, 1978. It will be recalled that it was subsequent to this, in February 1979, that the University Grants Commission accepted the proposal of the University to take over the college and this was also communicated to the Principal by the letter of R2 dated 20th February 1979.
(21) Just at this time, when things were ensuring well for the institution, a crisis appears to have been precipitated by an action of the Principal. On 1-3-1979 the Principal while giving effect to the understanding and agreement that the arrears of salaries till December 1978 should be paid to the staff circulated a letter to the various members of the staff of the college. Under cover of his letter the Principal enclosed a cheque to each staff members in respect of the salary payable for him up to the month of December 1978. However, he withheld the salary attributable to the period from 1-11-1978 to 30-11-1978 in respect of those members of the staff who had slaved away from the college during the period of strick on the strength of the resolution of the Gb dated 13-11-1978. In respect of the salary for this period, the Principal wrote to the staff members :-
'YOUare hereby required to explain your absence from duty from 1-11-1978 to 30-11-1978 and if your Explanationn will disclose any valid reason for your absence .the question of payment of salary for the month of November 1978 may be considered. If I am not satisfied with your Explanationn I shall place your case before the Governing Body for their consideration.'
(22) Understandably, this action of the Principal raised a furore. The Employees' Welfare Association made a representation to the E.C. on March 3. 1979 in which they complained that not a single assurance given by the Vice Chancellor in his agreement reached with the D.U.T.A. in November 1978 has been fulfillled. To make matters worst. the College Governing Body had set up a one man enquiry committee to look into the cause of the strike by the teachers in November 1978. The malafide intention of the college authorities was said to be very much evident from the fact that the salary of teachers for November 1978 had been withheld. It was also alleged that salary of Mr. W. John was not being paid and that the college authorities were making fresh irregular appointments of Class Iv staff with the intention of dismissing the present karamcharis of' the college. The second respondent was greatly out out by this allegation particularly when the circular of the Principal dated 1-3-1979 to the teachers was brought to his notice. On 5th March 1979 he wrote a letter to the Principal extracting the above circular and stated :
'INthis connection you will kindly recall that I told you we have not received any Resolution of the Governing Body of 13-11-1978. that the staff will not be paid their salary. I had impressed upon you the gravity of the situation in- case the salaries are deducted, and you had promised that you would see to it that they are paid their salaries for the month of November-December 1978 without any deduction. In fact you approached me with a request that I should get the grant released so that the teachers may be paid their salaries. As that time you had never mentioned to me the fact that their salaries will be deducted from the period 1-11-1978 to 13-11-78 otherwise I would not have recommended the release or the grant. You are once again requested to release the salary without any deduction definitely by tomorrow March 6, 1979'.
According to the petitioners, the Principal received this letter at 2.30 p.m. on 6th March 1979.
(23) From the letter quoted above it will be seen that R2 and the Principal had had a meeting or a telephonic conversation. The Principal also wrote a detailed letter to R2 in continuation of a telephonic conversation on 5-3-1979. In this letter he had made several complaints about the conduct of the staff and the circumstances in which the college was reopened. Two portions of this letter are very important. The first is a reference to the disbursement of salaries to the members of the staff. On this the Principal stated in the above letter :
'IT is also necessary to point out that the college has no intention to delay the payment of salaries to the staff out of the grant released by the University Grants Commission. Teachers, who had been absent from duty without leave during November 1978, have been served with letters asking for their Explanationn for their absence and if their Explanationns are found satisfactory the salary will be released to them immediately. However, if I find their Explanationns unsatisfactory the matter will be placed before the Governing Body of the college as soon as possible. You will kindly recall that I met you on 27th of February 1979 in your office and discussed the college matters. I had informed you that the college had disbursed the salaries to the staff. whatever was payable to each of them up to December 1978. I had also promised to place your suggestion that the salary for the month of November 1978 be paid to the staff absent from duty without leave, without prejudice to the findings of the Enquiry Committee and the action that might be taken in this matter, before the Governing Body of the College at the earliest. It was understood that if the final decision of the Governing Body of the College was not in favor of payment of salary for the period, the College would be entitled to recover the paid amount from the salary of the staff payable in future. In compliance with the words given to you, I have apprehended the Chairman, Governing Body who was out of station on a very busy schedule and. I am happy to say that he has acceded to my request and he has very kindly consented to cut short his stay in Chandigarh with a view to attend to the matters of the college without delay'.
The second important reference in this letter is to the information which had been given to the Principal by R2:
'ASyou have informed me today, a meeting of the Executive Council of the University is being held on 6th of March 1979 and the College matters are likely to be discussed therein. It is requested that you kindly place the total facts before the Executive Council while the college matters are taken up in the meeting.'
(24) A meeting of the E.G. was held on 6th March 1979 which considered at length the affairs of Rao Tula Ram College. A copy of the resolution passed in this meeting has been placed before us and may be summarised here. By its first paragraph the resolution noted that, from the very beginning, the college had been a problem college because it did not comply with Rules, Regulations and Ordinances of the University (hereinafter briefly referred to as the Statutes') and recorded its dis-satisfaction that the college had failed to comply with the conditions required by the University particularly in regard to six matters. These six matters were those very items referred to in the earlier Resolution of the E.C. dated 16-7-1972 which have been extracted earlier. In the second paragraph the Council was said to be satisfied from the records that there had been malpractice' in the administration of the college. Reference was made to the agitation in the college during the current academic year resulting in the closure of the college virtually turn two months. Reference was made to the appointment of a committee on 10th November 1978 to go into the affairs of college and to the findings of the committee which have already been set out. The resolution proceeded to record :
'THECouncil agreed with the findings of the Committee. The Council further noted that the University had made special efforts in getting the grants released from the U.G.C. for disbursement of salaries to the staff. However. even after the receipt of the grant, the management had refused to disburse the salaries to the members of the staff and in stead, had served them with show-cause notice as to why salaries from 1st November to 13th November should not be deducted for taking part in the agitation. The University had advised the college to pay the salary of these teachers. The College did not act on the advice of the University. This has created another stalmate in the college. The Council also considered the latest communication from the Principal of the college staling that the management had decided to take action against the teachers if their Explanationns were not found satisfactory. The Council did not agree with the observations of the Principal. In the opinion of the Council, the College ought to have followed the directives of the University and paid the salaries of the staff.'
The resolution concluded :
'AFTERtaking note of all these developments the Executive Council was fully satisfiecd that the affairs of the Rao Tula Ram College were and are eing managed in a manner prejudicial to the interest of the college, its teachers and students in a manner prejudicial to the standard of teaching in the Universitythe Executive Council, thereforee, resolved that under provisions of Statute 30(1)(D) of the Statutes of the University, 7 additional inembers be added to the Governing Body of the College and accordingly, the Council nominated the following 7 additional members to the colleges Governing Body : 1. Prof. Indera P. Singh. 2. Prof. R. N. Kaul. 3. Prof. R. L. Shukla. 4. Prof. D. K. Singh. 5. Prof. B. S. Sharma.
(25) The above resolution of the E.C. was communicated by R2 to the second petitioner by the letter dated 7th March 1979. The contents of the letter are practically a verbatim repetition of the terms of the resolution passed by the E.C. on 6th March 1979. Simultaneously R2 also wrote another letter to the second petitioner calling upon him to send the names and nominees of the Trust for consideration and approval of the Executive Council of the University in accordance with the Statute 30(l)(c)(i).
(26) It is the validity of the resolution dated 6-3-1979 and the two subsequent communications that are being challenged in the writ petition. Before dealing with the contentions raised by Shri Bhandare on behalf of the petitioners, it may be convenient to dispose of certain preliminary objections raised on behalf of the respondents. At the outset, Shri G.L. Sanghi, appearing for the first respondent referred to cetain personal allegations made in an affidavit filed on behalf of the petitioners on 18-8-1980 against the members appointed by the respondents to the Governing Body of the College (vide para 3 of the affidavit and paras 17, 21 and 22, of Annexure C 1 attached therewith and contended that these allegations could not be adjudicated upon unless the said persons were imp leaded as parties to the writ petition. Shri Bhandare, however, made it clear that the petitioners were only attacking the validity of the appointments (and their continuation beyond one year) and that he would not be seeking any decision on these allegations as the petitioners were not interested in making or pursuing any allegations against the appointees or their conduct as such appointees. In view of this clarification and in view of the fact that the counsel for the petitioner in the course of his arguments also by his assurance and did not raise or pursue any individual or personal allegations against the appointees, we did not think that these appointees are either necessary or even proper parties for a proper disposal of the writ petition. We, thereforee, ignore these allegations, as if they had not been made at all, for the purposes of the writ petition.
(27) The second preliminary objection was raised by Shri Chibber appearing on behalf of respondent No. 2. He referred to Rule 20 of the Rules and Regulations of petitioner No. 1, which requires the Governing Body to honour the statutes of the University and also to the assurance given by the second petitioner to the Registrar of the University on 6-6-1970 to the same effect and contended that, having voluntarily submitted to abide by the statutes of the University, obtained a grant of affiliation for the college on the basis of that assurance and induced the University to part with large sums by way of grants and help the college in various other ways, it was not open to the petitioners to challenge the validity or virus of any of the statutes. In support of this submission, counsel relied on Gopal Dass Mehta vs. Union of India A.I.R. 1955 S.C. 1 and certain observations in M. S. R. T. Corporation vs . .B. R. M. Service : 1SCR808 . In the view we propose to take regarding the applicability of the provisions of Statute 30(1 )(c) to the facts of this case. it is unnecessary for us to consider the arguments regarding the validity and for constitutionality of Statute 30(l)(e) or (d) and it is, thereforee, not necessary to dilate on the preliminary objection taken by Shri Chibber.
(28) The third objection was taken by Shri A. K. Jain on behalf of the Employees' Welfare Association, C.M.P. 1364/79 was filed by Shri Jain on behalf of the said Association, Dr. K. C. Chaudhary and Shri W. John praying that they should be imp leaded as parties to the writ petition or at least to 'intervene and allowed to put on record the correct facts and/or legal position before the Court.' We are of the opinion that the applicants are neither necessary nor proper parties to the writ petition in a dispute between the College and the University on a question of the constitution of the Governing Body which does not concern them and so we reject this application. There is also no provisions to enable the applicants to address us as interveners in the writ petition nor is there any justification to allow them to do so. We, however, permitted Shri Jain to assist us as arnicus curiae and it is in this capacity that he has raised the preliminary objection which is being dealt with here. and also generally sought to support the stand taken by Shri G. L. Sanghi on behalf of the first respondent. Shri Jain first invited our attention to the provisions of Sections 5, 6 and 16 of the Societies' Registration Act which read as follows :
'5.The property moveable and immoveabic belonging to a society, registered under this Act. if not vested in trustees, shall be deemed to be vested, for the time being, in the governing body of such society, and in all proceedings. civil and criminal, may be described as the property of the governing body of such society by their proper title. 6, Every Society registered under this Act may sue or be sued in the name of the president, chairman, or principal secretary or trustees, as shall be determined by the rules and regulations of the society, and, in default of such determination, in the name of such person as shall be appointed by the governing body for the occasion : 16. The governing body of the society shall be the governors, council, directors, committee, trustees or other body to whom by the rules and regulations of the society the management of its affairs is entrusted.' He then invited our attention to Rules 15 & 26 of the first petitioner society and formulated two arguments : (a) The present writ petition has not been filed by the treasurer as contemplated by Rules 26 and is, thereforee, not maintainable; and (b) The Society and its governing body are two distinct entities: the entity whose legal rights, whether of property or management have been affected is the governing body; and, hence, a writ, if at all, would be maintainable at the instance of only the governing body and not the Society.
(29) We are unable to see much force in these contentions. It is true that Rule 26 contemplates that suits on behalf of the society should be filed by the Treasurer. But, having regard to the importance of the subject matter of this writ petition, the general body of the society authorised the Chairman to take necessary action. The general body of the society is after all the ultimate authority to take any decision on the affairs of the society and it is difficult to hold that the writ petition should be held not maintainable though the Chairman has received this authorisation. No doubt Section 6 of the Act contemplates suits being filed in the manner envisaged therein but it has been uniformly held in the decisions of several courts (and we respectfully agree) that Section 6 is only an enabling or permissive provision and does not preclude the filing of a suit or legal proceeding in the name of the society itself. We, thereforee, think that while the Treasurer would have been competent to file the writ petition in his own name, the present petition cannot be dismissed as defective because it is filed by the society through the Chairman after being authorised by a resolution of the general body of the society itself.
(30) The second argument of Sri Jain is equally untenable. While the governing body is a smaller body envisaged by the Act to manage the affairs of the society whose membership sometimes may be so large as to render the management by all members too unwieldy, it would be unrealistic to suggest that they are two bodies totally independent of or unconnected with each other and to say that it is only the governing body that is affected or can be aggrieved by the action of the University. The governing body is a limit of the society and any restrictions imposed on the governing body nominated by the society and the managerial functions entrusted to it is, without doubt, a restriction and regulation affecting the society and its members. Further, it may be noted, the Gb is not a legal entity. It is not even recognised as a duly constituted body by the University. The plea that the impugned action can be complained of only by the Gb and not the society cannot be accepted. Having dealt with the preliminary objections, we shall proceed to deal with the several arguments addressed by the counsel for' the petitioners.
(31) Shri Bhandare, learned counsel for the petitioners, attacked the validity of Annexures Y and Z primarily on the following grounds :
(A)The action contemplated by Statute 30(1)(D) is one that vitally affects the rights of the petitioner society and its governing body which run the college and cannot, thereforee, be resorted to without complying with the principles of natural justice. In this case the Ec had arrived at its decision without giving the governing body an opportunity of being heard and so its decision is liable to be quashed. (b) Statute 30(1)(D) enables the Ec to appoint certain additional members on the regularly constituted governing body of a college. In the present case the Ec has consistently refused to recognise the governing body as nominated by the petitioner society and taken up a stand that there was no regularly constituted governing body for the college. Having taken up this stand it was not open to the Ec to take up an inconsistent position and appoint nominees to a body which they do not recognise ; (c) According to Annexure Y the acti';-0on under Statute 30(1)(D) has been taken on the basis of nine grounds referred to in the -said letter. Though the E.C. has purported to have had these allegations enquired into by a committee and acted on its report, the proceedings clearly reveal that there has been no application of mind either by the committee or the E.C. to the factual position in respect of these allegations either individually or collectively. The E.C. also failed to note that the above mentioned allegations, even if taken to be primafacie well-founded, could not justify the action taken under Statute 30(1)(D) particularly having regard to the state of affairs as they stood on 6-3-1979, the date of the E.C's resolution ; (d) Action under Statute 30(1)(D) in fact results in the take over by the University of the administration of a college indirectly. If the E.C. appoints additional members to a regularly constituted governing body that would vest partial management of the affairs of the college in its hands. If on the other hand the E.C. refuses to frecognise the governing body of the college and makes its own nominees as has been done in this case the result is to vest the whole management of the college in the hands of the E.C. whose nominees alone will then be the members of the governing body. Such a provision is ultra virus and offends the fundamental rights of the petitioner under Article 19(1)(C) of the Constitution. (e) The action of the University in this case is vitiated by legal mala fide. Tile E.C. had always been desirous of taking over the management of colleges under its own administration and it is really with a view to achieve this object vis-a-vis the petitioners' college that the impugned action had been taken on the basis of certain old and flimsy allegations ; And (f) The allegations made in Annexure Y were unfounded and were in any event irrelevant and inadequate in law to sustain action under Statute 30(1)(D).
(32) We have come to the conclusion, that this writ petition can be disposed of on the first three of the grounds mentioned above and that, in the view we propose to take, it is unnecessary to consider the other grounds which have been raised by the learned counsel.
(33) Taking up the issue of natural justice to start with, counsel for the respondents met the arguments in two ways. Firstly, it is submitted that Statute 30(1)(D) does not require an opportunity to be fully heard being given to the concerned college and, thereforee, the action in accordance with the provisions of the Statute is valid. The second is that on the facts it is not correct of say that the principles of natural justice have not been complied with.
(34) On the first aspect Shri Sanghi invites our attention to the contrast between the provisions contained in clauses (1) and (5) of Statute 30(1) (.1). The relevant provisions have been extracted earlier. It will be seen that clause (5) contains a specific proviso that before any action is taken under that clause the G.B. should be given an opportunity to represent to the B.C. why such action should not be taken. He points out that there is no such express provision in regard to the action to be taken under clause (1). He contends that the distinction is based on reason for while clause (5) deals with a situation where the University proposes to withdraw privileges which had been granted to an institution, the context of clause (1) is totally different. It is a provision not turn penal action but only for correctional action on the basis of certain information gathered by the University. Shri Sarighi, thereforee. contends that neither under the Statute nor in principle is there any obligation to provide the G.B. with an opportunity of being heard before action 's taken to appoint the additional members under clause (1).
(35) The argument is very attractive but we are of opinion that it cannot be accepted. It is now too late in the day to contend that an opportunity of being heard need not be given because the Statute does not expressly provide turn the same. As pointed out by the Supreme Court in Maneka Gandhi v. U.O.I. : 2SCR621 natural justice is a great humanising principle intended to invest law with fairness and to secure justice. Although there are no positive words in the Statute requiring that the party shall be heard yet the justice of the common law will supply the omission of the legislature. The law is now- well settled that even in administrative proceed ings. the doctrine of natural justice will be applicable provided the proceedings involve civil consequences. The enquiry in all such cases is and must he : 'Does fairness in action demand that an opportunity to be heard should be given to the person affected'. It appears quite clear to us that even in a case where action is taken under clause (1) of paragraph (D) it has very important repercussions in on the lights of an institution to govern itself. The initiation of action. under this clause imports the satisfaction of the B.C. that there is something wrong with the management of the affairs of the institution and that it is being managed in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the Univesity, the college, the teachers and the students. It is no doubt true that this action is less radical than that under clause (5) which contemplates a total withdrawal of the privileges granted to the college or the institution but even the limited action contemplated by clause (1) is one that casts a slur on the management of the institution by the G.B. and affects the rights of the members of an existing G.B. to manage the college or the institution as best as they can. An action involving such a consequence clearly falls within the pale of the principle enunciated in the Maneka Gandhi case (supra). There can be hardly any doubt that rules of fairness and justice require that before any action is taken even under clause (1) the existing members of the G.B. should be given an opportunity to show cause why such action may not be necessary. We are, thereforee. unable to accept the broad principle conteded for by Shri Sanghi that there is no ntcessity of hearing the G.B. before taking action under clause (1).
(36) It is then contended that even on the facts of the present case it cannot be said that the E.C. did not give the college a sufficient opportunity of being heard before the action under clause (1) was taken. In this context learned counsel took us through the correspondence between the petitioners and the respondents in great detail. He pointed out that the Principal was the Secretary-Member of the G.B, as per the requirement of Ordinance xviii (4) (3). Long before any action was R-2 had written to the Principal on 27-10-1978 expressing his 'dissatification with the manner in which the college had been functioning vis-a-vis the Statutes of the University and ilouting its directives. He, thereforee, called upon the Principal to send his observations on the points raised so that they could be placed before the E.C. To this letter the Principal had given a very detailed reply on 6-11-1978 in which he had set out what all ht wanted to say in regard thereto. After this the E.C. had appointed a committee to go into the affairs of the college. R.2 had informed the principal about this by his letter dated 13-11-1978 and requested the latter to render all possible assistance to the committee and this letter must have been before the G.B. of the college when it met on 13-11-1978. The convener of the committee also gave a notice to the Principal in which he had sought the co-operation and assistance of the Principal as also of the teachers, students, members of the G.B. and the members of the staff in conducting the enquiry. He had requested the Principal to notify the information to a1! concerned and had made it clear that it was open to any person in possession of relevant information to bring the same to the. notice of the committee. To this notice also the Principal had sent a reply on 2.1-11-1978. The minutes of the committee show that it had also considered, before coming to its conclusions, the three letters dated 6-11-1978, 20-11-1978 and 21-11-1978 written by the Principal. R 2 had again informed the Principal on 5-3-1979 that the E.C. meeting scheduled for the next day would discuss the affairs of the college and the principal had also written a long letter on 5-3-1979 itself explaining his stand. Thus. the E.C. as well as the committee appointed by it had given due intimation to the Principal anil requested him to extend his co-operation and assistance to them in arriving at a just and fair decision.But the Principal did not choose to appear before the committee and the G.B. also did not nominate any other representative to apprise the committee and the E.C. of the correct state of affairs according to them. In these circumstantces. Shri Sanghi very vehemently contends, it would not be fair to the University to say that the principles of natural justice had not been complied with.
(37) The correspondance referred to by Shri Sanghi undoubtedly presents an outward appearance of formal compliance with the principles of natural justice. But we find that, considered in the context of certain significant features of the cases, the true position is that, far from giving an opportunity to the real persons affected, the respondents had been completely ignoring sue hpersons throughout. When action is taken under clause (1) of paragraph 30(1) (D). the persons who are affected are the members of the G.B. because by the action proposed certain new members are proposed to be added to the existing G.B, It is, thereforee, necessary that when action is proposed under clause (I) the notice of the proceedings has to be given to the G.B, whose members are likely to be affected. There is of course some force in the point made by Shri Sanghi that the E.C. as well as the committee have given notices and opportunities to the Principal to make necessary representations and that the Principal. being Secretary-Members of the G.B., is duty bound to bring these notices and intimation to the notice of the other members of the G.B. so as to enable them to take such action as they consider necessary. In the normal run of cases we would have had no hesitation in holding that such a course would have been quite adequate but the question is whether that inference can follow in the circumstances of this case. In this context the most important fact to remember is that the G.B. of the college had been nominated in accordance with rule 15 of the Rules of the petitioner society. The names of the persons who were members of the society and. thereforee of the G.B.. it is common ground, were being furnished to the University from time to time. It may be that the details were not furnished in the prescribed profoma hut it is a purely technical defect ana in any event for the first few years at least the University had also been appointing its nominees on the G.B. Suddenly, however, for reasons (which we may assume to be valid) the University stopped recognising the G.B. We have referred earlier to the resolution passed at a meeting of the E.G. held on 13-12-1975 for the purpose of considering the approval of the nomination sent by the college for the period commencing from 1-5-1975. The E.C. resolved not to grant approval to the nominees of the members of the G.B. proposed by the petitioners. Thereafter none of the nominations sent by the petitioners have been recognised or approved by the University in positive terms though as pointed out on behalf of the petitioners there has been no communication to the petitioners rejecting the nominations and though it is stated that in the annual reports of the University the constitution of the G.B. was shown as declared by the petitioners from time to time. It is, thereforee, clear that at least with effect from 1-5-1975 the University had withheld its approval to the nominations made to the G.B. by the petitioners. It is on account of this stand taken by the University that there has been a deliberate and studied omission to make any reference to G. B. even while the E.C. was debating the initiation of very serious steps against the college and its administration. To put it in other words, the University did not consider the G.B. of the college to have been validly constituted nor did it recognise the Principal as the proper representative of such a G.B. The Principal was addressed and dealt with merely because he happened to be Principal and nothing more. In fact in his letter dated 21-11-1978 to the convener of the committee appointed by the E.G.. the Principal clearly pointed out that it was for the University to decide whether it wolud like to correspond directly with the G.B. and recognise it for purposes of its enquiry. In spite of this request6 the committee and the completely ignored the G.B. it is rather curious and very revealing that while the G.B. was ignored all along, the letter dated 7-3-1979 (Annexure Y) is addressed to the Chairman, Rao Tula Ram College Trust. There can be no doubt that the failure or omission on the part of E.C. and the University to address any letter, notice or correspondence to the G.B. and/or its Chairman during the relevant period is not purely accidental nor is it because they thought that the letters to the Principal were being addressed to him in his representating character as the Secretary of the G.B. It should be borne in mind, in this context, that not only the students but also the teachers were against the G.B. and no one could say with any certainty whether he would support the G.B. against the proposed action or cast in his lot with the teachers and students. There is. thereforee, no doubt that the E.C. was deliberately and purposefully ignoring the G.B. This attitude stemmed from the position that the University had not officially recognised the G.B. as the regularly constituted G.B. aver since 1975 and turned a Nelson's eye on it. If the correspondence and its effect is assessed in this light, it would be clear that this is a case where the University has taken action against the G.B. without any intention of hearing what the members of the G.B. had to say and by ignoring them totally and completely despite the Principal having specifically requested in his letter of 20th November 1978 that the E.C. should apply its mind to this aspect.
(38) Shri Sanghi. on the strength of certain observations in the Maneka Gandhi case (vide paragraph .3 tip. 628-630) contended that the hearing necessary to comply with the principles of natural justice could even be a 'post decisional remedial hearing'. He, thereforee, sugeses. that. even if we come to the conclusion that the principles of natural justice had not been complied with, we need not disturb the impugned order but it would be sufficient to grant an opportunity to the petitioners of being heard by the E.C. now so that if the E.C. changes its mind the earlier decision could be revised and otherwise confirmed. We are not, however, impressed by the appropriateness of the course of the action suggested by Shri Sanghi. It is true that the eudi alteram partem rule 's sufficiently flexible to permit modifications and variations to suit the exigencies of inyriad kinds of situations which may arise. In a case where immediate action is imperative (as, for instance, in a case where a passport is impounded) it may be that the requirements of the rule would be satisfied by granting what may be described as a post-decisional remedial hearing because in situations like that public interest requires immediate action and step taken can be revised, if considered necessary after a hearing. But in a case of this type where there was no urgency or emergency and where there is studied indifference to the requirement of the situation. we think that the better course would be to set aside the impugned order leaving it to the E.C., if so advised, to reconsider the matter in accordance with law after giving the concerned persons an opportunity of being heard before any action is taken. But that apart, this is not the only infirmity on this aspect of natural justice. As discussed below, there are at lease two more grounds for consider ing that the principles of natural justice have not been complied with in this case. We are, thereforee, of opinion that the above contention of Shri Sanghi should be rejected.
(39) To revert again to the question of natural justice, there is also another aspect of the rule of natural justice that has been violated in the present case. It is a well established principle that where certain action is proposed to be taken against a person or body of persons on the basis of certain facts or allegations, the person(s) should be given an opportunity of rebutting.; the allogations or grounds on which action is proposed to be taken. In the present case the E.C. formulated certain charges against the G.B. and it was perhaps intended that it was only in respect of these charges that an enquiry was to proceed when the matter was taken up by the committee appointed by the E.C. But the terms of the reference to the committee apart from being not quite clear were too wide and it appears to us that the fears expressed by the Principal in his two letters to the convener of the committee came true. By these letters the Principal had wanted to know what exactly was to be the scope of the enquiry before the E.C. He had pointed out that the fields and the aspects which the committee proposed to cover were not clear and wanted a clarification as to whether all the aspects of the troubles of the college such as 'mischief mongering and agitation, their continuance and their engineering' and such like issues will also be gone into and whether the college would be given an opportunity to ''refute false allegations that might be made by any vested interest with malicious intent'. He had also requested that the college may be supplied with allegations or information that may be produced before the committee or may be taken into consideration by it. From the minutes of the proceedings of the committee (the file relating to which was shown to us by the counsel for the respondents) it is seen that the committee had recorded the statements of various persons. Some of them were college students, some teachers and some parents. There were some statements in favor of the management which suggested that certain teachers and members of the staff were fomenting trouble. However. there were also wild allegations of various types. There was even an allegation that the Principal had employed goondas to beat up the students. The committee must have been influenced by the contents of these statements which were not put to the college in coming to its conclusion that the affairs of the college were being managed prejudicially to the interests of the college, the teachers and the students. Is it not fair for the college to say that at least before acting on material other than that contained in the letter of R-2 dated 27-10-1978, the G.B. should have been given an opportunity to meet the allegations and aspersions contained in the statements recorded by the committee
(40) But let us assume that the committee did not need to go into the allegations and counter allegations in very great detail because, on the date on which it took a decision the factual position in the college was very telltale. No studies were going on; students and teachers alike were agitating; and the managament had closed down the institution for an indefinite period. Prejudice to the interests of the college, students, teachers and university was writ large for any one to see. One can perhaps, thereforee, understand the report of the committee being short and cryptic. But we are concerned here with the decision taken by the E.C. on 6-3-1979. By this time, there had been a very radical change in the situation and we shall be discussing these changes in detail later. For the present it is sufficient to point out that by the first week of December 1978, matters had been sorted out and peace and harmony had come to the campus due to the efforts of R 2 until it was interrupted by the action of the Principal dated 1-3-1979 in withholding the salary of the staff members who had participated in the strike for the period of the strike. It was this that precipitated the action of the University on 6-3-1979. But before taking action, the E.C. did not give any opportunity to the petitioner to explain the position. No doubt before the meeting was held and the action taken, R 2 did write to the Principal asking him to disburse the salaries for the above period also. We are not sure that this letter of R 2 can be treated as an opportunity given by the E.C. to the Principal to save the situation. But, that apart, unfortunately, the letter dated 5-3-1979 was delivered to the Principal on 6-3-1979 at 2.30 p.m. only. It was clearly impossible for the Principal to have disbursed the salaries that day even if he had wanted to. Natural justice required that the E.C. should have waited at least a day or two more to get the intimation of compliance or other reaction of the Principal to the letter of R-2 before taking further action. It will be seen that the decision of the E.C. had been reached on two grounds : (a) the previous history culminating in the recommendations of of the committee appointed on 10-11-1978 and (b) the failure of the Principal to disburse the salaries for the strike period according to the understanding allegedly, reached by him with R-2. So far as the first is concerned, the decision was vitiated by the failure to inform the petitioners of the recommendation of the committee and provide them with an opportunity to show cause why action should not be taken as proposed. This was necessary particularly in view of the change in circumstances since November 1978 when that committee had reported. In regard to the second ground, again, no real .opportunity had been given to the Principal (let alone the G.B.) to disburse the salaries in full and honour the commitment he was said to have given to R. 2. It seems to us clear, thereforee, that the resolution dated 6-3-1979 was passed by the E.C. in haste and without giving the petitioners an effective opportunity of showing cause against the proposed action. In our view, thereforee, the petitioner's plea based on failure of natural justice has to be upheld.
(41) 'THE second contention raised by Shri Bhandare appeared to us, at first, a little too technical and insubstantial but, on deeper consideration, we have come to the conclusion that there is force in this argument if one considers the scheme and object of the Statutes in this regard. In the first place, Statute 30(1)(D) deliberately uses the expression 'regularly constituted G.B.' and these words should be given their full meaning. Shri Sanghi says that they mean only a G.B. duly constituted in accordance with the rules and bye-laws of the college society in question. We do not think that this is all that the Statute intended to connote. It seems to us, reading this Statute side by side with the preceding statute 30(1)(C) which in fact defines this expression that Statute 30(1)(D) contemplates a G.B. which has not only been duly elected or appointed in accordance with the rules and regulations of the society and the members of which are in office at the relevant time but also one which fulfills two further conditions : (a) that the rules and regulations regarding its constitution conform to the statutes of the University and have been approved by the E.C. and (b) that it is a body 'consisting of not more than twenty persons approved by the E.C.' and including the representatives of the various interests referred to in Statute 30(1)(C). Secondly, it will be seen that on the language of Statute 30(1)(C) the question of the college being admitted to the privileges of the University does not arise until the conditions in 30(1)(C) are fulfillled. It would seem, thereforee, that where a college is admitted to such privileges but does not have a regularly constituted G.B.. either due to some difficulty in having the rules of personnel approved or otherwise, the logical consequence would appear to be more that the privileges should be withdrawn under 30(5) after giving the college an opportunity to set right the position than that action should be taken under statute 30(1)(D). Thirdly, it could not have been in the contemplation of the framers of the statutes that a G.B., though irregularly or improperly or illegally constituted, should be allowed to continue to function and receive official recognition, as it were, by the addition of some members thereto at the E.C.'s behest. The idea would rather appear to be that, where the college is functioning under a regularly appointed G.B. but there is a malfunctioning of the G.B. for some reason, an attempt should be made to set it right by a corrective procedure as envisaged therein rather than by drastic action under Statute 30. (5). Fourthly, whatever may be the position in the case of a G.B. the appointment of some of whose members has not been approved or is considered improper (for in such a case there would be a regularly constituted G.U. com- prising the others) it seems to be beyond doubt that action under Statute 30(1)(D) is not at all envisaged in a case, like this, where the appointment of none of the G.B. mem- bers has received the approval of the E.C. For, in such a case, the effect of action under Statue 30(1) (D) by the E.C. will be to vest the management of the college itself in the hands of the E.C.'s nominees to the exclusion of the nominees of the society. We have earlier referred to another argument of Shri Bhandare that the provision en- abling the E.C. to interfere in the administration of the college would be vocative of Article 10(1)(C). We do not think it is necessary for the purposes of this case to consi- der whether, in a case where a regularly constituted G.B. is running the affairs of a college, the provisions which enable action being taken by the E.C. under Statute 30(1) (D) on grounds of mismanagement would be ultra-vires or not.. But it seems to us clear that if the Act is construed as enabling a take over of the management of the college by the E.C. in a case where there is no regularly consti- tuted working committee, that might very well constitute an unjustified abridgement of the right of the society to hold property and to carry on its affairs with full freedom This would be so, particularly because the granting of ap- proval to the rules and personnel of the committee is in the hands, of the E.C. and it could without furnishing any rea- sons, refused rejeognition to a G.B. proposed by^a college society and then take over its affairs under Statute 30^t) (D) on the simple ground that the management of affairs by an unapproved or irregular committee would itself be pre- judicial to the interests of the college, students etc. Such an interpretation would open the doors wide to attempts by the E.C. to introduce its nominees for managing the affairs of the college. In this context, it is interesting to observe that even in this case, no reasons have been furnished by the E.C. for refusing to recognise the names suggested by the college society except vague and general ones that a number of the nominees were relatives of petitioner No. 2, that the application was not in the proforma prescribed or that the society itself purported to nominate the Chairman and Treasurer which could not be done. Patently these reasons are too flimsy to justify a wholesale non-recognition of the Society's G.B. At no time did the E.C. communicate to the petitioner society its refusal to recognise the names nor did it at: any point of time point out to the college society what the defects were and ask that the same should be rectified. Naturally, a society of this type can be formed only by a hand of persons closely associated with one another and a refusal to recognise a G.B. merely because the nominees are relatives or are likely to act as a group cannot be justified. In fact, the statute does not provide for an over-riding voice to the EC's nominees in the G.B. The idea is that where there is an appointed G.B. but the college or other relevant interests are suffering because of inefficient or faulty management, the nominees of the E.C. may be able to offer useful guidance and suggestions and attempt to persuade the others to adopting a course of management that would prove fruitful. This also indicates that it is not the aim of the section to substitute a new management by the nominees of the E.C. in place of that by the G.B. of the college society. Further, even in a case where a college society does not or even refuses to conform to the rules & regulations, the only remedy of the University is to withdraw its recognition to the college, leaving the college society free to manage its own affairs without either the help or aid or interference by the University. That being so, a less radical remedy a 'correctional' provision in the words of Shri Sanghi cannot entail a consequence which could not follow even under the more rigorous penal provision of Statute 30(5). Reading all the relevant provisions as a whole, we do not think that it will be a fair or reasonable or valid interpretation of statute 30(1)(D) to say that it enables the E.C. to take over the management of the College by its own nominees alone (where the college has no approved G.B.) or by its nominees in collaboration with persons whose appointment to the G.B. has not received the approval of the E.C. it is on these considerations that we are persuaded to accept the contention of Shri Bhandari that the provisions of Statute 30(1)(D) cannot apply to this case where the constitution of the G.B. of the college has not received approval or recognition from the E.C.
(42) The third important question to which we have to address ourselves is whether, in the state of affairs as they existed on 6th March, 1979, the E.C. acted fairly and justly in taking action under the impugned statute. On this aspect of the matter, Shri Sanghi's contention has been that, right from the beginning the college had been flouting the directives issued by the University and failing to comply with the statutes. The mere fact that drastic action could have been taken earlier but was postponed should not be a consideration for restraining the Ec from taking any such action when another crisis developed in the affairs of the institution. He argues that in taking action under statute 30(1)(D), the University was entitled to take into account the earlier history of the institution and the manner in which it had conducted itself but even if all that were left out of consideration there were critical developments in 1978 which justified action. He pointed out that, after a lot of correspondence between R 2 and the Principal, the matter was placed before the E.C. which appointed a committee to go into the matter. The committee collected all the information that was made available to it and found that there were three major problems. The first was the refusal by the college to extend the services of W.E. John despite its being made clear that this had to be done to implement a policy decision of the University and that the salary of the employee would be reimbursed by the U.G.C. The second was the failure to comply with the legitimate demand of the students for a union. The third was the failure to pay the teachers their salaries in time which precipitated a strike on their part too. All these had resulted in the closure of the college. In respect of none of the three items did the Principal hear the advice of Rs. 2. On the other hand, just when the mediation efforts of R 2 succeeded and he was able to pacify the students and teachers and have the college reopened, the Principal again precipitated trouble by refusing to pay teachers their salaries for the strike period contrary to his undertaking to R-2. All these matters were considered by the E.C. and it came to the conclusion that steps under statute 30(1)(D) were necessary. Shri Sanghi submitted that normally a writ court does not assess the pros and cons and substitute its own judgment for the judgment of a statutory body entrusted with a particular jurisdiction especially so, when as in the present case, the decision (of the E.C.) is arrived at on a careful consideation of all relevant facts after an enquiry had taken place. The normal reluctance of a court of law to interfere in these matters should be all the more in the 'academic' field and that too where the nature of the action proposed is merely correctional.
(43) No exception can at all be taken to the broad principles enunciated by Shri Sanghi. Indeed, we do not at all propose to emark on an enquiry into the correctness or otherwise of the several allegations mutually hurled at by the parties or to consider whether, on the facts so found, the action of the E.C. was correct or not. That is not the province of the High Court in writ jurisdiction. But it is well established that the writ court will interfere when - the exercise of a jurisdiction is based on no relevant material. It is also a settled position that justice and fairness of State action is the essence of Article 14 of the Constitution and that a State instrumentality like the University should satisfy that requirement, in exercising its powers under the statutes of the University. We, thereforee, propose to address ourselves only to the question whether in the circumstances of this case, the impugned decision of the University was fair and just and based on relevant material; and in doing so, we shall proceed only on the basis of the facts on which there is no dispute.
(44) As we have stated right at the outset and as is also clear from the letter dated 7-3-1979, the basic grounds of complaint which the University has against the management of the college can be divided into three parts. The first is what may be described as the six charges which are set out in the first part of the letter dated 7-3-1979. Now these were exactly the items that were considered by the B.C. on 16-7-72. This appears from the contents of the resolution passed by the E.C. at its meeting held on 13-12-1975. It is seen that, for these defaults, the E.C. was of the view that action should be taken against the college under Statute 30(5); however, it had referred the matter to the Academic Council for its opinion ; the Academic Council had appointed a committee to examine the whole problem ; the committee had given its report and the Academic Council had made its recommendations; and the E.C. had decided on the basis of these recommendations and representations that action should be taken against the college in terms of the provisions of Statute 30(5). At this stage the G.B. came forward with a proposal to the ViceChancellor that the college might be taken over by the University. There were discussions, the broad terms and conditions of take-over were agreed upon and the matter referred to the U.G.C. for its approval. This proposal for the take over of the college had not been abandoned. There had been some interruption between 1973 75 as the college was said not to have supplied certain information called for by the U.G.C. But the information was subsequently supplied. Further information was called for and supplied in 1976 and 1977, R-2 wrote to the Principal requesting that further information be supplied. Notwithstanding the unrest in the college and the differences that seem to have cropped up between R-2 and the G.B the proposal continued to be under consideration and finally on 16-2-1979 the Ugc approved the take over proposal. In the meantime, the action of the E.G. on 10-11-1978 to appoint a committee to enquire into the affairs of the college put the back up of the G.B. and the claim that on 13-11-197S, they passed a resolution withdrawing the offer to the University for the take over of the college. But, according to the respondents, they had not received intimation of this resolution and we find R-2 writing to the Principal on 17-2-1979 conveying the approval of the proposal by the U.G.C. Thus, the position, so far as these 6 items are concerned, is that they had been already considered by the University and proposals for the take over of the institution had reached a finality in February, 1979. Nothing more remained to be done in respect thereof except to implement the proposal, for as early as 1972, both the E.G. and the G.B. had practically agreed on all the conditions and pre-requisites for the take over. In these circumstances, the narration of these six grounds could only have been intended more by way of narration of past history rather than by way of specific charges which warranted action against college. In all fairness, the E.G. could not, in view of the action already taken since 1972 on these very grounds, seek to seriously urge, these six past defaults as a ground for the present impugned action. The second part of the letter of 7-3-79 relates to the three events of 1978. We do not intend to go into the merits of these matters, either of the allegations made by the University or the Explanationns given by the Principal in respect thereof except only to observe that the E.G. does not appear to have considered the root causes of the trouble, particularly for the non-payment of sala- ries, and attempted to find a solution herefor. We shall take it (as already observed while dealing with the report of the committee appointed on 10-11-1978 that the nonemployment of Pohn, the failure to grant permission for students' union and the teachers' strike had really precipitated a crisis and brought the whole institution to a halt to the prejudice of all concerned. But luckily R-2 was able to play a very helpful and useful role in mediating between the Principal and the students and teachers and normally had been restored to the college which started functioning on 4-12-1978. In March, 1979 when the impugne daction was taken, there was nothing critically wrong in the relationship between the administration of the college, the teachers and the students. The college was functioning normally. The issue of John had to be decided on its facts in due course. It does not appear that the students were still clamouring for a students' union being formed and this was no longer a live issue since the academic session was drawing to a close. The most serious was the third issue of nonpayment of salary to the staff. We were greatly perturbed to find that neither the college nor the University had shown any anxiety to go to the root of this problem and evolve a speedy solution but allowed a state of affairs to continue in which the staff were kept out of their salary for months on end. So long as the college remained admitted to the privileges of affiliation, the U.G.C. had to meet 95 per cent of the establishment expenditure. The college says that it was unable to pay the salaries in time because the University had withheld all capital grants due to it in spite of the college having spent huge sums towards the purchase of land, constructions of buildings, assembling of equipment and so on. That the college must have spent some monies on these cannot be denied though it may or may not be in the region of Rs. 9 to 10 lacs as stated by the college. There is nothing before us to show that exactly this was due to and why, for a period of nearly nine years, the college had not been able to get any grants at all from the University. If the college had not spent any monies and did not deserve any grants from the Universry then this could have been made clear and other appropriate steps taken; or if some grants were due to the college, the payment thereof should have been expedited. However, R-2 had been able to persuade the Ugc to give some grants and the Principal to pay the arrears of salary to the staff. With a little patience on the part of all concerned, the eclipes over the smooth functioning of the college would perhaps have passed off quietly and all would have been well, if the take over proposals had also gone through. Thus, in March 1979, these three issues posed no such live or serious problem as to warrant drastic action on the basis of the report given in November, 1978 by the committee of enquiry. If in November, 1978 despite the serious crisis then facing the college and the committee's report, action under Statute 30 was not taken, we fail to see any justification for action in March, 1979 on these grounds.
(45) Now we come to the crucial third part of the impugned resolution and the consequent letter which, it seems to us, contains the real ground which triggered off the action taken by the E.C. viz. the circular letter issued by the Principal on 1-3-1979 calling on the staff, which had been absent during the strike period, for an Explanationn for their absence. 'This letter actually appears to have caused an impression on R-2 that the Principal was continuing to defy the directives of the University and had gone back upon the understanding which he had with R-2. The E.G. resolution of 6-3-1979 places great emphasis upon this aspect of the matter. It points out that after having prevailed upon R-2 to use his good offices in getting the grants released from the U.G.C. for disbursement of the salaries to the staff the management had refused to disburse the salary and instead served them with show causes notice as to why salaries for the strike period would not be deducted for taking part in the agitation. It also refers to the 'latest communication from the Principal of the college stating that the management had decided to take action against the teachers against the eteachers if their Explanationns were not found satisfactory'. This, according to the counsel for the respondents, was the proverbial last straw on the camel's back.
(46) After having considered carefully the terms of the Principal's letter in the context of the discussions between R 2 and the Principal that preceded it, we have come to the conclusion that Shri Bhandare is right in urging that the E.C. and R 2 have totally misconstrued the reason for and the real object of the circular sent by the Principal to the staff on 1-3-1979. The real position is quite clear from the letter of the Principal dated 5-3-1979 which contains a reference to the discussion which he had with R 2 in this matter. We have already extracted the two crucial paragraphs from his letter which set out the substance of his understanding with R 2 on this matter and the correctness of his version in this regard has not been challenged before us. It will be seen there from that during these discussions R 2 had suggested that the salaries for the month of November, 1978 should be disbursed also in the case of staff members who had been absent from duty without leave during the strike period without prejudice to the findings of the enquiry committee and the action that might be taken in the matter. So far as this suggestion was .concerned, the Principal says he had only promised to place the suggestion before the G.B. of the college at the earliest. He adds that, in compliance with the word given to R-2, he had also approached the Chairman of the G.B. who was out of station and that the latter had acceded to the request and had even consented to cut short his tour and come back to Delhi with a view to attend to the matters of the college without delay.
(47) It is quite clear that what had transpired was this; R-2 had promised to get the U.G.C. grants and asked the Principal to disburse the salaries to the staff till the end of December, 1978 so that they might be satisfied. The Principal also agreed in principle for, if the grant was received, he could hardly keep the money back. But there was one snag. The teachers had been on strike and the Principal without the approval of the G.B. could not pay the absentee teachers their salaries for November, 1978 without the approval of the G.B. particularly because the G.B. had decided on 13-11-1978 that an enquiry should be conducted regarding the conduct of the persons. The Principal was not, thereforee, in a position on his own, to withdraw this enquiry or to promise that the salary for the period of strike would be paid to all the teachers. A compromise formula was evolved. It was suggested that the salaries might be paid to them provisionally. The college can go on with its enquiry and if ultimately it was decided that the amount was not payable the college would be entitled to recover the same. On this understanding, funds were got released from the U.G.C. But since the enquiry had to go on and the claim of the teachers for salary during this period had not been conceded, and even for the provisional payment, the Principal had to get the approval of the G.B. he had to go through the motions of calling for an Explanationn from the absentee staff and this is what he did by his circular, stating that if the Explanationn was considered to be satisfactory it would be accepted and the salary would be paid but that if it was not found satisfactory it would be placed before the G.B. This was not at all in defiance or contravention of any understanding ' or undertaking between the Principal and R-2. On the other hand, though this notice was g!ven and though Explanationns were called for, the Principal specifically assured the Director in his letter that he had already talked with the Chairman, that the Chairman had acceded to his request and that the matter would be placed before a G.B. very shorly.
(48) It is unfortunate that a totally erroneous construction has been placed on this letter in regard to this aspect. Some of the staff or other disgruntled persons appear to have used the circular letter as a tool for agitation and given an impression to R-2 that the college was out to defy him and to deprive the teachers of their legitimate dues. It is also unfortunate that R 2 who had been handling the affairs patiently and tactfully all these years appears to have been taken in and lost his patience. Even here, he stated reasonably by talking to the Principal and by also addressing a letter to him staling that this was contrary to their mutual understanding and that the salaries even for the strike period should be disbursed immediately, though it was perhaps unrealistic to expect such disbursement by the next day. As it happened this letter reached the Principal only the next day, but perhaps, not knowing this but receiving the letter of 6-3-1979 on which he plced an erroneous interpretation, he seems to have got convinced that the Principal was out to defy the University and persuaded the E.C. also to come to the same conclusion.
(49) For the above reasons we have come to the conclusion that none of the grounds which have been set out in the letter dated 6-3-1979 justify the action taken by the E.C. Our conclusion is that though there may have been certain grounds in respect of which the college had to give an Explanationn to the University, there was no situation on 6-3-1979 which could justify the action taken under clauses (1) of Statute 30(1) (0). On that date there was no situation which could have led to the conclusion that the affairs of the college were being managed to the prejudice of the college, the students or the University.
(50) We are, thereforee, of opinion that the impugned resolution of the University dated 6-3-79 and the two communications (Annexures Y & Z) dated 7-3-1979 consequent thereupon were without jurisdiction and should be queshed. We direct accordingly. A writ of certiorari will issue in the above terms.
(51) After the hearing had concluded and before we pronounce judgment respondent No. I moved an application, Cm 680181. In this application it was brought to our notice that the term of nomination of the additional mebers to G.B. had expired on 5th March, 1981 and that the university had decided not to renew the nomination any further. It was prayed that the court may take notice of this subsequent development and decide the writ petition in the light thereof. On behalf of the petitioners it is urged in reply that though the decision of the university to withdraw the additional members was welcome, this development had no bearing on the disposal of the writ petition in view of the various contentions that had been raised by the writ petitioners including a challenge to the virus of Statutes 30(1) (C) and 30(1) (D). We think that though the nominated members have now been withdrawn from the Gb, this step taken by the respondent does not render the petition infructuous. The points raised in the writ petition survive for consideration and the question whether the resolution and the communications impugned in the writ petition were validily passed and issued or not requires determination as that resolution has not been withdrawn by the university. We have, thereforee, discussed all the contentions urged before us and given our decision thereon.
(52) The writ petition is allowed but in the circumstances we make no order as to costs. No further orders are necessary on Cm 680181.