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A.N. Nigam Vs. University of Jodhpur and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Writ Petn. No. 1074 of 1982
Judge
Reported inAIR1982Raj243; 1982()WLN384
ActsConstitution of India - Article 19(1)
AppellantA.N. Nigam
RespondentUniversity of Jodhpur and anr.
Advocates: L.R. Mehta, Adv.
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
.....umbrella of freedom of speech while holding that post.;i have not been impressed by submission of shri mehta that the petitioner has got a fundamental right to call the prime minister as 'owl' (ulloo) even when he is discharging the duties of a professor in the university.;(b) constitution of india - article 226--writ--maintainability of--suspension from service--allegations of sweeping nature & validity of suspension order involved--writ deserves to be admitted;since the present writ petition contains detailed allegation which prima facie cannot be brushed aside as vague and sweeping, they will have to be examined after obtaining reply from the respondents.;since, he is denying this allegation and claims it to be concocted one, the validity of suspension and resolution for inquiry..........to hold disciplinary inquiry against prof. shri nigam for misconduct and to suspend him also.3. shri mehta raised several issues before this court for the purpose of admission and obtaining slay order. the principal amongst them were, that the university passed ihe impugned resolution without a proper quorum, that the university had no statutory right under any of the statute to suspend the petitioner during inquiry; that the petitioner without admitting correctness of the allegation which is seriously disputed, has got a fundamental right to say, that 'shrimati indira gandhi is owl'.4. shri nigam, the petitioner, is a professor in physics in the university of jodhpur. in the field of education, a professor enjoys the highest post and is respected as the main 'priest' in the temples.....
Judgment:
ORDER

G.M. Lodha, J.

1. 'A storm over a cup of tea', but though 'cup of tea' was over, the storm has assumed serious disastrous dimensions for the petitioner resulting in his suspension and inquiry. The academicians, either in their extraordinary pursuit of detachment and assertion of independence or caught in the trap of group rivalries, and group politics of the University, Instead of dividing and discussing the work load of the educational field, climbed over trying to scale political controversial issues under the garb and cover of unlimited rights of the teachers to criticise the political leaders and their policies. The pivot of debate in this writ petition is the validity of suspension of Prof. Nigam and inquiry against him on the allegation, that provoked by SriT.N. Agrawal or caught in a well knit trap, Prof. Shri Nigam used derogatorylanguage against the Prime Minister, Shrimati Indira Gandhi by verbal as well as written expression, that 'she is owl (ulloo)'.

2. Shri Lekh Raj Mehta, the learned counsel for the petitioner has assailed the Iwin decisions of the University of Jodhpur to hold disciplinary inquiry against Prof. Shri Nigam for misconduct and to suspend him also.

3. Shri Mehta raised several issues before this Court for the purpose of admission and obtaining slay order. The principal amongst them were, that the University passed Ihe impugned resolution without a proper quorum, that the University had no statutory right under any of the statute to suspend the petitioner during inquiry; that the petitioner without admitting correctness of the allegation which is seriously disputed, has got a fundamental right to say, that 'Shrimati Indira Gandhi is owl'.

4. Shri Nigam, the petitioner, is a Professor in Physics in the University of Jodhpur. In the field of education, a Professor enjoys the highest post and is respected as the main 'priest' in the temples of education. There are countries in the world, where Professors of the University are given highest precedence in the protocol and even unofficially they are respected more than 'top-brass of bureaucrats or political leaders holding even the cabinet ranks. Though a few, there are countries in the world where the Prime Minister gives precedence to the Professors and respects them. I have mentioned all this, only for the limited purpose to show that a person who stands on the highest pedestal and expects the greatest respects, is also expected to behave in an extremely dignified manner, and should have highest values for the decorum and decency not only in academic life but even in informal meetings like the one held in tea club of the University which is now under 'fumes and fire'.

5. I am. therefore, not persuaded to admit the writ petition on the broad assertion of Shri Mehta that in the Univer sity Campus, a Professor enjoys fundamental right to call names to the Prime Minister of that country or for that purpose to the Chief Justice or Education Minister or the President.

6. In my humble opinion, the Constitution makers never permitted suchfundamental right to be abused while holding the post and discharging the duties of that post.

7. True it is that politicians can use even unparliamentary language, outside Parliament area in mutual bickerings either with the adversary in the adverse parties and sometimes inter partes but for that, they are accountable to the electorate on the one hand, and law of the land on the other hand.

8. However, they are also restricted from using unparliamentary language on the floor of the house and the Speaker would never allow them to address the Prime Minister as an 'owl', as prima facie, it is unparliamentary though this verdict can be given finally only by the Speaker and not by this Court.

9. Even if it is assumed that one has got a fundamental right to make such derogatory remarks against the Prime Minister as alleged by the petitioner in para 42 (xxxv) and (xxxvi) then also, one has got no fundamental right to continue as Professor with this conduct. The freedom of speech and expression never contemplates that one while holding a particular post can act against decency decorum and dignity of that post and make derogatory remarks and then claim the protective umbrella of freedom of speech while holding that post. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the contention of Shri Mehta that Prof. Shri Nigam. on the assumption that he used derogatory remark has a constitutional right as a fundamental right to do so, and no inquiry can be conducted against him, deserves to be rejected in limine and is rejected accordingly.

10. The other limbs of arguments of Shri Mehta, however, are not frivolous as the first one. Undoubtedly, as alleged by Shri Mehta there are 13 members of the syndicate, whose names are as follows as narrated in para 1 of the affidavit dated the 4th June, 1982, filed by the petitioner Shri Nigam,--

(i) Shri M.M. Mehta, Vice-Chancellor,

(ii) Shri Prof. L.S. Rathore,

(iii) Prof. D.C. Surana,

(iv) Mrs. Kamini Dinesh,

(v) Prof. S. Divakaran,

(vi) Shri Amritlal Gehlot,

(vii) Dr. N.M. Sahal,

(viii) Shri Parasram Maderna,

(ix) Shri Narpalram Burwar,

(x) Prof. S. Lokanathan,

(xi) Shivnathsingh Kapoor,

(xii) Shri M.S. Maheshwari,

(xiii) Shri D.S. Jha.

11. Shri Mehta has produced a written document which shows that after resolution of Prof. Shri S. Lokanathan supported by Shri M. S. Maheshwari, Shri Narpat Ram Barbad and Shri N.M. Sahal, was lost, they left the meeting of the syndicate mentioning that now onwards there would be no quorum because there would remain 6 members. It has come on record that Shri Paras Ram Maderna, MLA, was absent from the meeting along with two members and only 10 members were present.

12. That being so, prima facie, only six members were present when the resolution suspending the petitioner and directing that an inquiry should be held, was passed by the syndicate, Shri L.S. Rathore moved this resolution which was seconded by Smt. Kamini Dinesh on 8th Feb., 1982 (Annexure 20) supports the above contention of Shri Mehta that only six members supported the resolution for suspension of Prof. Nigam and inquiry against him.

13. The quorum of the syndicate meeting is to be governed by the regulation, as according to Section 25 of the University of Jodhpur Act, the authorities of University have been empowered to make regulations for deciding the number of members required to form a quorum. Shri Mehta has submitted the regulation (Annexure ig) according to which the quorum of the meeting of syndicate is half of the total membership. Since total number of members was 13, Shri Mehta's argument that six members could not proceed with the passing of the impugned resolution would require a thoughtful and serious consideration.

14. Similarly, the third major contention of Shri Mehta that power of suspension has been given by the Ordinance 320 in Schedule II of the Ordinance 3 only as the punishment would also require serious consideration.

15. It is unfortunate that serious allegation of mala fides have been alleged in the writ petition against all 'he members who voted against Prof. Shri Nigam, the petitioner, in passing this resolution and the petitioner has alleged in his writ petition that the University of Jodhpur is ridden with group politics of a very virulent character as held proved by the report of the Chancellor's inquiry, But so far as this court is concerned, though practice of washing dirty linen by making vague allegation of the mala fidesin this court cannot but be deprecated, yet since the present writ petition contains detailed allegation which prima facie cannot be brushed aside as vague and sweeping, they will have to be examined after obtaining reply from the respondents.

16. It would be unnecessary to devolve on this any further at this stage, because though I have not been impressed by submission of Shri Mehta that the petitioner has got a fundamental right to call the Prime Minister as 'owl' (ulloo) even when he is discharging the duties of a Professor in the University and I have rejected it summarily, Yet since, he is denying this allegation and claims it to be concocted one, the validity of suspension and resolution for inquiry would require a detailed consideration after obtaining replies of the respondents.

17. The writ petition is, therefore, admitted. Issue notices to the respondents.


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