D.P. Gupta, J.
1. The petitioner, who was a student of the Dayanand College, Ajmer, appeared at the B.Com. (Final) examination of the University of Raj. In the year 1974. He appeared in the first three papers of the aforesaid examination commencing from April 16, 1974. But while he was appearing at the fourth paper on April 22, 1974, the Invigilator concerned in the examination hall is alleged to have found a piece of paper in the answer book of the petitioner. The petitioner refuted the allegation and stated that the place of paper was lying on the ground and the petitioner had no concern with the same. The Invigilator prepared a report in the prescribed Performa which was shown to the petitioner and having read the same, the petitioner wrote thereon that he denied the truth of the said report. The petitioner was there after allowed to appear at the subsequent papers. However, the Centre Superintendent referred the case of the petitioner to the University on the allegation that the petitioner had used unfair means at the aforesaid examination. The petitioner submitted a representation to the University on May 15, 1974 denying having used unfair means and demanding that the matter may be fully investigated. In July 1974, when the results of the B.Com. (Final) examination of the University of the year 1974 were declared, the result of the petitioner was with held. The Registrar of the University sent a letter to the petitioner on August 22, 1974 directing him to appear before the Standing Committee appointed by the University to consider such cases, on August 30, 1974. The petitioner did appear before the Standing Committee in pursuance of the aforesaid direction and gave his clarification. Thereafter, the petitioner further gave a detailed representation to the University on October 5, 1974 and emphasised that the requirements of Ordinance 152 of the University were not complied with in the case of the petitioner. After some reminders, the Registrar of the the University informed the petitioner by his letter dated December 16, 1974 (Anx. 5) that the 1974 examination of the petitioner was cancelled by the University on account of his resorting to unfair means at the said examination.
2. The petitioner has filed the present writ petition challenging the aforesaid decision of the University cancelling the result of his B.Com. (Final) examination of the year 1974. The main grievance of the petitioner is that the University failed to comply with the provisions of ordinance 162 of the University, which specifically lays down the procedure to be followed by the University in cases where unfair means were used in connection with the University examinations. The contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that the Invigilator or any other person conversant with the facts of the case were not examined by the Standing Committee in the presence of the petitioner nor the petitioner was allowed an opportunity to cross-examine the Invigilator or any other witness He further submits that the report of the Head Examiner was in favour of the petitioner, in as much as it was mentioned therein that the petitioner had not used the material, which was alleged to have been found in his possession, while answering the questions in his answer book. The further grievance of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that the petitioner was not given an opportunity to lock into the material placed on record on behalf of the University before the Standing Committee and was not allowed to produce his evidence by way of defence.
3. The University has filed a return and it has been admitted that the petitioner denied the truth of the Invigilator's report but the contention advanced on behalf of the University is that the Standing Committee heard the petitioner and the explanation furnished by him was not found by it to be satisfactory and therefore, the Standing Committee found the petitioner guilty of pine unfair means at the aforesaid examination. The University has not Denied the fact that the Invigilator or any other person conversant with the facts of the case was not examined by the Standing Committee in the presence of the petitioner but it is submitted on its behalf that the petitioner was conversant with the Invigilator's report and the was afforded an opportunity to explain the same before the Standing Committee and that as serveral hundred cases of using unfair means had to be disposed of by the Standing Committee within a short time, it was not possible, for them to follow the lengthy procedure of according the evidence in each and every case.
4. The relevant provisions, which prescribe the procedure to be followed by the University, in case where candidates were alleged to have used unfair means in connection with the University examinations, are contained in Ordinance 152 of the University and after the Centre Superintendent referred such a case to the University the following procedure was to be followed according to Clause (vii) of Ordinance 152:
In case candidate has denied the allegation as contained in the Invigilator's report or if the Committee otherwise thinks it necessary. it shall fix a date, time and place for holding the enquiry and give a proper notice to the candidate by registered post. Sending such notice by registered post to the candidate at the address given by him/her in his/her examination form shall be deemed to be a discharge of the University liability as to notice even if the candidate did not Receive the letter or that he/she was not available at the said address. No adjournment of the meeting shall be granted to the candidate on any account. On the date fixed in the notice which shall be not less than 14 days from the date of its despatch, the Committee shall meet at required place on the date and time specified in the said notice for the purpose of of holding the enquiry and the candidate shall be allowed to be present in the same.
The evidence of the Invigilator and of such other persons as are alleged to be conversant with the facts of the case, if any, will. be recorded by the Committee in the presence of the candidate who will be allowed to put relevant questions to the various witnesses by way of cross examination. The Committee shall also consider the report of the Head Examiner to whom the answer bocks and the material used as unfair means was referred to.
After the above evidence is recorded, the candidate shall be required to make his/her statement, to product such evidence as he/she thinks necessary to submit in his/her defence. The candidate will bring witnesses, if any, to the plate of enquiry at his/ her own cost and without any summons or letters of request having been sent to the said witness by the University. In no case shall any adjournment be granted to the candidate. The Committee, after recording the evidence of the defence and granting such hearing to the candidate as it may deem necessary, record its findings about the guilt of the candidate.
The said report and recommendations of the Committee shall be placed before the Syndicate which shall be final authority to take such necessary action as it may think necessary in each case.
As I have already noted above, the University has not denied the fact that the aforesaid procedure prescribed in Sub-clause (vii) of Ordinance 152 by the University was not followed in the instant case. The evidence of the Invigilator and of such other persons who were conversant with the facts of the case was not recorded by the Committee in the presence of the petitioner nor the petitioner was afforded an opportunity to cross-examine the Invigilator or any other witness, it is also not clear as to whether the Standing Committee at all recorded any statement of the petitioner. The relevant material, which the Standing Committee might have possessed, including the reports of the Invigilator, the Centre Superintendent and the Head Examiner, were also not made available to the petitioner and in these circumstances, it must be held that the petitioner was not afforded a fair and reasonable opportunity of presenting his defence before the Standing Committee. The University having prescribed the procedure to be adopted in such cases by enacting the provisions of Sub-clause (vii) of Ordinance 152, it was bound to comply with the same. Moreover, the aforesaid procedure is also in consonance with the principles of natural justice. The defence of the University that as several hundred cases bad to be disposed of by the Standing Committee in a short time, it was not possible for it to follow the lengthy procedure prescribed under Ordinance 152, is hardly tenable. The University took almost a period of six months to dispose of the case of the petitioner and it does not appear from its reply as to what really prevented the University from complying with the procedure prescribed in Sub-clause (vii) of Ordinance 152 in the present case. The mare fact that the petitioner was heard by the Standing Committee was not enough even to satisfy the principles of natural justice besides being contrary to the express provisions of Ordinance 152 in as much as neither the material in possession of the University and which might have been used by the Standing Committee to arrive at its decision in the matter was disclosed to the petitioner nor the Invigilator and other relevant witnesses were examined in the presence of the petitioner and the petitioner was not afforded an opportunity to cross-examine them. In the absence thereof, the petitioner could not effectively adduce his defence and merely asking him to appear before the Standing Committee, in these circumstances, was of no avail.
5. In view of the aforesaid facts, the decision of the University cancelling the B.Com. (Final) examination of the petitioner of the year 1974 cannot be upheld and deserves to be struck down. The grievance of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that although the petitioner has filed his application form for appeasing at the M.Com. (Previous) examination of the University, which is going to be held in April 1975, yet the petitioner would not be able to appear at the said examination unless the result of the petitioner is declared by the University before the aforesaid M.Com. (Previous) examination begins. Mr Kasliwal appearing for the University, undertakes that the University authorities shall take prompt steps in the matter and that the petitioner would not be prejudiced on account of any delay in taking necessary action in the matter on the part of University.
6. In the result, the writ petition is allowed. The order of the University of Rajasthan cancelling the result of the petitioner of B.Com. (Final) examination, 1974, as conveyed by the letter of the Registrar of the said University dated December 16, 1974, is get aside. However, the University shall be free to take such action in accordance with law and in the light of the observations made above, as it may deem fit in the circumstances of the case. The parties are left to bear their own costs.