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M.T. Ananthan Vs. the Honorary Secretary, Sainik School Society and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtKerala High Court
Decided On
Case NumberO.P. No. 5580 of 1984-D
Judge
Reported inAIR1985Ker62
ActsConstitution of India - Articles 15(4) and 226
AppellantM.T. Ananthan
RespondentThe Honorary Secretary, Sainik School Society and anr.
Appellant Advocate Vincent Panikulangara, Adv.
Respondent Advocate S. Subramani and; M. Balagovindan, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....standard was in the light of the decision taken at the seventeenth conference of principals of sainik schools held on october 7-8,1982 at nagrota, which was, as decided bythe conference given effect to from 1982-83 academic year. on 29th january 1984 in this connection as he is likely to be withdrawn unless he puts in his best efforts in his final examination starting on 20th march 1984 for xi standard, 2nd march 1984 for x standard'.not only exts. r2(e); and argued for the position that if at all, it was only from 6-10-1983 the petitioner could be attributed with the knowledge of the decision to require withdrawal of the students who had not attained the minimum standards as prescribed by the board, and, therefore, the decision could not be so implemented as to adversely affect the..........the father of a 17 year old boy, anilkumar (roll no. 1507), who, after having been admitted to the sainik school, kazhakootam, trivandrum, in standard vi in the year 1977, had reached standard xi in the school year 1983-84. the first respondent is the hony. secretary, sainik school society, new delhi, and the 2nd respondent, the principal sainik school, kazbakootam. the petitioner filed this writ petition to challenge ext. p-l withdrawal notice dt. 3rd may 1984 issued by the 2nd respondent-principal, which in its material portion reads as follows :'your son/ward, roll no. 1507, name anilkumar m. a. of class eleventh has failed to secure 40% in each subject and 50% in the aggregate (with a separate minimum of 33% in the theory papers of physics, chemistry and biology) in the final.....
Judgment:

Bhaskaran, Actg. C.J.

1. The petitioner is stated to be the father of a 17 year old boy, Anilkumar (Roll No. 1507), who, after having been admitted to the Sainik School, Kazhakootam, Trivandrum, in Standard VI in the year 1977, had reached Standard XI in the school year 1983-84. The first respondent is the Hony. Secretary, Sainik School Society, New Delhi, and the 2nd respondent, the Principal Sainik School, Kazbakootam. The petitioner filed this writ petition to challenge Ext. P-l withdrawal notice dt. 3rd May 1984 issued by the 2nd respondent-Principal, which in its material portion reads as follows :

'Your son/ward, Roll No. 1507, Name Anilkumar M. A. of Class Eleventh has failed to secure 40% in each subject and 50% in the aggregate (with a separate minimum of 33% in the theory papers of Physics, Chemistry and Biology) in the Final Examination. As per the rules governing this institution, such boys have to be withdrawn from the school'.

'As the boy has failed to secure the minimum of 33% in each subject and 40% in the aggregate, he is declared failed and has to be withdrawn immediately.

Your ward is not required to attend the NDA entrance examination coaching classes being held in this school from 9th May, 1984'.

2. The main contentions raised by the counsel for the petitioner is that the course in the 11th and 12th Standards being an integrated course of two years, preparing the students for the Higher Secondary School Examination at the end of the 12th year, there was absolutely no justification for not promoting the petitioner's son to Standard XII or for the petitioner being asked to withdraw his sonfrom the school on the basis of the result of the internal examination. Another contention raised is that the Rule pursuant to which Ext. P-l was stated to have been issued, if at all valid, was a Rule introduced only in the year 1983-84 after the petitioner's son secured entrance to the 11th Standard, and, therefore, that rule could not be applied in the case of the petitioner's son. It was also submitted that the application of the rule was opposed to Article 15(4) of the Constitution, which provided special safeguards to promote the interest of the socially and educationally backward classes, particularly scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, and in the light of the fact that giving effect to those provisions in the matter of entrance to the class, concession as regards the standard required had been given in favour of the scheduled castes/scheduled tribes in the prospectus itself, Ext. P-l notice is not valid.

3. The stand taken by the respondents, particularly the 2nd respondent, is that the school run by the Society, of which the first respondent was the Hony. Secretary, was affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education. According to the rules framed by the Board, it is necessary that those who are to be promoted to the 12th Standard had to attain a certain standard, and it was only on promotion from the 11th standard to the 12th Standard they could pursue their studies in the 12th Standard. It was also submitted by the counsel for the 2nd respondent that the contention of the petitioner that the 11th and 12th Standards formed an integrated course, and there was no question of a separate standard to be required to be attained before one was promoted from the 11th Standard to the 12th standard was not correct. According to him minimum standard to be attained for the promotion from llth standard to the 12th standard was already there, even during the academic year 1979-80 as is evident from Ext. R2(g) periodical assessment in respect of the petitioner's son for that year, in which after noting the marks obtained by him (petitioner's son) in Standard VII it is stated : 'Failure in retest will result in withdrawal'. It was further pointed out that the decision to insist upon certain standards for promotion from 11th to 12th standard was in the light of the decision taken at the seventeenth conference of Principals of Sainik Schools held on October 7-8,1982 at Nagrota, which was, as decided bythe conference given effect to from 1982-83 academic year. In para 12 of the counter-affidavit of the counter petitioner in C.M.P. No. 16410 of 1984 (the 2nd respondent in the O.P.) it is stated as follows : --

'Promotion from Std. XI is a condition precedent for attending class XII, even at the time when Mr. Anil Kumar was admitted to XI Std., Ext. Rl rule was in existence and further the same was informed to the parents individually. Admission to Class XII is not automatic merely because the course of study has been completed. At the end of the academic year in the Std. XI there is a public examination where question papers are set from New Delhi on an All India basis. The statement that classes XI and XII are part of a two year course is denied'.

Not only by Ext. R2(b) letter dt. 6-10-1983, which in effect is in the nature of a circular and reminder to the parents, but also by R2C, R2C(a), R2C(b), R2C(d) progress reports noting in the remarks column the minimum standard to be attained sent to the petitioner from September 1983 to March 1984, the petitioner was alerted sufficiently in advance of the painful necessity of the petitioner being compelled to withdraw his son from the Sainik School. In Ext. R2D letter dt. 21-1-1984 from the 2nd respondent, Principal addressed to the petitioner it is stated as follows: --

'2. Your ward N. A. Anil Kumar, Roll No. 1507 has shown no progress in the terminal examination held in December 1983 (progress report attached).

3. He was provided with all the facilities for extra coaching in the afternoon to improve his performance but he has not shown any keenness to do so.

4. You are requested to meet me personally at 10.00 hrs. on 29th January 1984 in this connection as he is likely to be withdrawn unless he puts in his best efforts in his final examination starting on 20th March 1984 for XI Standard, 2nd March 1984 for X standard'.

Not only Exts. R2E and R2E(a) periodical assessment of the school work of the petitioner's son during 1983-84 in Class XI, but also the earlier periodical reports in respect of him for 1978-79, 197980, 1980-81, 1981-82 and 1982-83 Exts. R2F, R2F(a), R2F(b), R2F(c) and R2F(d) in class - VI, VII, VIII, IX and X also showed that his performance was farbelow the minimum standard expected of him.

4. We have heard the counsel on both sides at considerable length. Having gone through the counter-affidavit of the 2nd respondent Principal and the documents produced along with the counter affidavit and the additional counter-affidavit, we find that the Board of Governors of the Sainik School had decided pursuant to the resolution adopted at the 17th conference of Principals of Sainik Schools held on 7-8, October 1982, to promote only those who had attained at least certain minimum standards to the 12th Standard; and it had also been decided then to give effect to that decision from 1982-83 academic year onwards. The counsel for the petitioner draw our attention to Ext. R2(e); and argued for the position that if at all, it was only from 6-10-1983 the petitioner could be attributed with the knowledge of the decision to require withdrawal of the students who had not attained the minimum standards as prescribed by the Board, and, therefore, the decision could not be so implemented as to adversely affect the petitioner's son who got himself admitted to Standard XI at the beginning of the academic year without being cautioned about the serious consequence that would follow from the failure to attain the minimum standard fixed. Ext. R2B letter dt. 6-10-83, addressed to the parents of the students, gives the details of the minimum marks in each subject; and also in the aggregate, for entitling a student for being promoted from one standard to the higher standard. Paras 4 to 8 thereof read as follows :--

'4. Sufficient notice is being given to you to advise your ward to concentrate in his studies from the beginning of the academic session. You will be kept informed regarding his performance after every quarterly examination.

5. It is once again stressed that no relaxation will be made in the above mentioned rules at the tune of promotion to higher classes and no representation whatsoever will be entertained in this respect.

6. No retest will be conducted after the final examination and overall marks will be the sole criterion for promotion.

7. Every effort is being made to take corrective measures from the beginning ofstudents. Extra tutorial classes have been started for those who have failed in the 1st Terminal test (Progress card attached) regularly in the afternoon from 2.30 P.M. to 4 P.M. The performance of these weak boys will be further assessed in the 2nd terminal test to be conducted in mid December 1983. The boys who fail in this terminal examination are likely to be detained in the School during Christmas holidays. Extra payment at the rate of Rs. 7/-per day will be met by the parents of those who are detained during the holidays for extra coaching.

8. You will appreciate the above measures and co-operate with the administration to bring up the academic level of the boys to avoid withdrawal of your ward from the School.'

5. It is not the petitioner's case that the petitioner's son was singled out for a discriminatory treatment by applying the rule of promotion against him alone. It is a rule, there is no dispute on that point, that is uniformly applicable and used to be applied to all the students of various Sainik Schools in the country; and as such it would be unreasonable to expect a preferential treatment either for the petitioner's son, or for that matter for the students of one of the schools, namely the Sainik School at Kazhakoottam.

6. The counsel for the petitioner, however, submitted that the action contemplated under Ext. R2B is violative of the fundamental right enshrined in Article 15(4) of the Constitution. It was also submitted that the children belonging to the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, who were entitled to some concession at the time of their admission to the school, ought to be given some concession at the later stages also, so that they might be in a position to take their final examination along with the others. We do not think that this could be the correct approach. That a certain standard had to be attained before the students could present themselves for final examination is the policy of the authorities concerned, and we would be trespassing upon their jurisdiction if we are to interfere with such policy making decisions concerning the standard in studies and substitute our norms and ideas. The preferential treatment allowed on the basis of the special provisions in Article 15(4) of the Constitution is meant for providing adequate opportunities for the socially and educationally backward class personnel to improve theirlot; and it is up to the members of those classes to avail of and utilise fully such opportunities to the maximum advantage to enable them to reach the required level of excellence in the concerned sphere of life, without expecting further concessions. In our view, it is not the object of Article 15(4) to compel the educational authorities, who have, on expert advice, fixed certain minimum standard for pass in an examination, to change it and substitute our ideas or to make exceptions to the rules governing it. The National Defence Academy has a pride of place in the preparation of the defence of our country. The aim of the Sainik School is to prepare boys academically and physically for entry into the National Defence Academy and other walks of life. Any deterioration in the standard of attainments of those who seek career in the Defence Force would have in the long run disastrous consequence telling upon the security of the country. If the petitioner, who was found to be wanting by the competent authority on a proper and objective assessment, in dedication to duty and team spirit, which are absolutely necessary to make the career in the defence force a success, was to be promoted to the XII standard, in fairness others who are similarly placed and ordered to be withdrawn also would have to be readmitted to the institution; and that might create a condition not conducive for the meaningful functioning of the institution having a reputation for maintaining high standard of proficiency and efficiency.

7. It was then submitted by the counsel for the petitioner that in case the petitioner was forced to withdraw his ward from the Sainik School, it would entail great difficulties both to the petitioner and his ward, inasmuch as after having spent about 6 years in the Sainik School, he could not achieve the ultimate object of entering the National Defence Academy. The object of the study at the Sainik School is to enable the students to attain excellence for the preparation for the all India Higher Secondary Certificate Examination to be conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education and the Union Public Service Commission examination for admission to the National Defence Academy, it was pointed out. It was further submitted that the petitioner would not be able to get admission for his ward to any of the colleges placing reliance on certain passages in a prospectus of a Government College atTrivandrum. One other submission made is that in terms of the agreement entered into by and between the petitioner on the one hand and the State of Kerala on the other, the petitioner would be bound to refund the scholarship amount received by his ward as the condition was that unless his son completed the studies leading to admission to the National Defence, Academy, the scholarship amount received by him should be refunded to the Government. It was also submitted that as a matter of fact for the year 1984-85 also scholarship had been sanctioned by the Government in his favour but that could not be availed of on account of Ext. P2 order.

8. None of the above points raised by the petitioner in our view, is sufficient for us to interfere with the decision of the 2nd respondent-Principal. As already noticed this is a policy matter which aims at certain standards to be maintained by these institutions in order to present the best talents, equipped with proper mental and physical training, for the National Defence Academy and other similar spheres of life. Any deviation would mean erosion of the qualities which are aimed at by the institution. The rules have been framed by persons competent and having authority in the matter, and it is not for the High Court to interfere with such decision in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution. As far as the refund of the scholarship amount is concerned, if the petitioner could convince the Government that his case deserved to be considered sympathetically, we are sure it might be possible for the Government to help the petitioner out of the difficulties by passing appropriate orders not to require the petitioner to refund the amount in the peculiar circumstances. Regarding the other matters also, the petitioner could find some practical solution. The petitioner had sent his ward to the 11th standard knowing fully well that in case sufficient progress in the studies was not maintained by him, he would have to be withdrawn from the school.

9. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that on the basis of the directions contained in C.M.P. No. 16410 of 1984 dt. 3rd July, 1984, the petitioner's son had re-entered the school and was in the 12th Standard, and, therefore, taking that into account the writ petition had to be allowed. We do not think that this is the correct approach to be made. The interim order itself made it clear that the directionwas only a temporary one subject to the result of the writ petition. To quote our learned brother:

'It is only just and proper that the petitioner's son should be taken back into the Xllth class, subject, of course, to the result of the original petition. Petitioner will take advantage of this order fully realising the implications of the order, namely, that if he fails in the original petition there will be no way for his son to continue in the school or to plead for relief on the basis of equity'.

No further comment is necessary on the above order.

The result, therefore, is that we dismiss the writ petition, without making any order as to costs.


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