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Dilip Singh Vs. the University of Jodhpur - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtRajasthan High Court
Decided On
Case NumberS.B. Civil Writ Petition No. 321 of 1978
Judge
Reported in1978WLN(UC)462
AppellantDilip Singh
RespondentThe University of Jodhpur
DispositionPetition allowed
Cases ReferredMalik Ram v. State of Rajasthan
Excerpt:
jodhpur university act, 1962 - section 25--jodhpur university regulations regulation 73h petitioner debarred from appearing in examination for 1978 andd 1979 without affording an opportunity of being heard neither documents shown nor allowed to cross-examine witnesses--held, principles of natural justice as embodied in--regulation 73h are violated and order debarring petitioner from appearing iaa examination from 2 years cannot foe upheld.;the right to be afforded an opportunity of showing cause against the proposed action aud the right to a personal beariiig which is confened on a condition trader regulation 73-h includes the right to inspect the reports and ether documents on which reliance has been phced by the committee as well as the tight to cross-examine the persons on whose..........to controvert the evidence sought to be relied upon by the university in support of the said charges. an opportunity to adequately present his case also includes the right of the examinee to establish his innocence by cross-examining the persons on whose report or oral testimony reliance is being placed by the university as well as the right of the examinee to examine witnesses in support of his case.8. regulation 73-h framed by the university incorporates the principles of natural justice which are to be followed before a punishment is imposed on an examinee who is charged with having used unfair means at the examination and the said provisions should be so constured as to enable an examinee to be afforded an opportunity to adequately present his case.9. the provisions in.....
Judgment:

S.C. Agrawal, J.

1. In this petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution, the petitioner, Dilipsingh, prays for the issue of a writ of certiorari to quash the decision of the Syndicate of the University of Jodhpur, Communicated to the petitioner by the Registrar of the University of Jodhpur by his letter dated 30th January, 1978, whereby the petitioner has been awarded the punishment oi cancellation of the examination in 1977 and debarring from appearing at any examination of the University to be held in the years 1978 and 1979.

2. The petitioner had joined the first veai of the three year Degree Course of Bachelor of Science of the University of Jodhpur in July, 1976 and he appeared at the final year examination of the said three year degree course in the year 1977. The Registrar of the University of Jodhpur served upon the petitioner a memorandum dated 25th August, 1977, wherein it was stated that on 5th August, 1977, at about 8.15 AM, while answering the question paperofBotnay I of B.SC Final Examination of 1977, the petitioner was found in possession of 14 leaves of manuscript papers which the petitioner handed over after some resistance Through the said memorandum the petitioner was informed tint the possession of unauthorised material in examination hall is forbidden and the act of refusing to sign orv the statement, is an act of indiscipline & that the petitioner had committed offence punishable under Ordinance No 94 & 95 of the Ordinances of the Jodhpur University. By the memo randum aforesaid, the petitioner was required to show cause why appropriate action be not taken against him under the rules and to submit his explanation within seven days of the receipt of the notice. In response to the aforesaid memorandum, the petitioner submitted his reply dated 2nd September, 1977 wherein he stated that false charges had been levelled against him and that in incident had taken place in the examination hall on 5th August, 1977 as alleged in the memorandum. The petitioner, in his aforesaid reply, requested that he may be offered an opportunity to cross examine the Invigilator, who was present in the examination hall at that time so that he could establish the truth of his case. In the reply aforesaid, the petitioner also prayed for an opportunity to inspect the documents on the basis of which the charges mentioned in the memorandum had been levelled against him. On 29th September 1977, the Registrar of the University informed the petitioner that a Committee after examining and considering the report of Invigilator, the report of Centre Superintendent, the report of Head Examiner the material found in possession of the petitioner and the explanation tendered by him was convinced that there was a prima facie case against the petitioner that he was found using or attempting to use unfair means in the Examination Hall on 5th August, 1977 at 8:15 A.M. while answering the question paper on Botany-I of BSC Final Examination of 1977 and that the. Committee, therefore, proposed to recommend to the Syndicate the imposition of the punishment of cancellation of examination of 1977 and further debarring the petitioner from appearing at any examination of the University to be held in the years 1978 and 1979. By the letter aforesaid the petitioner was required to show cause, in writing, within a week of the receipt of the said letter why the punishment as proposed by the Committee, be not imposed on the petitioner The petitioner was also informed that in case he desired to be heard in person by the Committee he should state so clear in his reply to the Show Cause notice and appear before the Committee on 10th October, 1977 In reply to the aforesaid letter, the petitioner addressed a communication dated 7th Oct. 1977 wherein the petitioner reiterated that he was innocent and invited reference to his earlier representation dated 2nd September, 1977. The petitioner also appeared personal before the Committee on 10th October, 1977 but no witness on behalf of the University was examined before the Committee in the presence of the petitioner & the Committee only questioned the petitioner whether he was admitting the charges levelled against him and the petitioner denied the said charges By letter dated 30th January, 1978, the Registrar of the University of Jodhpur informed the petitioner that the Syndicate, at its meeting held on 28th January, 1978 had approved the imposition of the punishment of cancellation of examination of 1977 and debarring from appearing at any examination of the University to be held in the years 1978 and 1979, on the petitioner. Aggrieved by the aforesaid order, contained in the letter dated 30th January, 1978, the petitioner has filed this writ petition.

3. The submission of Shri D.K. Parihar, the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that in passing the impugned order imposing the punishment referred to therein, the Committee as well as the Syndicate had not afforded to the petitioner an opportunity to controvert the allegations levelled against him in the memorandum dated 25th August, 1977. The submission of the petitioner is that he ought to have been afforded an opportunity to inspect the records referred to in the order dated 29th September. 1977 on the basis of which the Committee came to the conclusion that a prima facie case was made out against the petitioner. The petitioner further-submits that no witness wit examined by the Committee in his presence and that he was not afforded an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses in order to rebut the charges levelled against him.

4. Shri M. Mridul, the learned Counsel for the respondents does not dispute that the petitioner was neither permitted inspection of the documents which were taken into consideration by the Committee and the Syndicate, nor was he afforded an opportunity to cross examine any witnesses. The submission of the learned Counsel is that the impugned punishment has been imposed on the petitioner after following the procedure laid down in Regulation 73H framed by the University under Section 25 of the Jodhpur University Act and that under the said regulation, a person who is charged with use of unfair means at an examination has only a right of personal hearing before the Committee and that the said right has been afforded to the petitioner. The learned Counsel for the respondents has submitted that the right conferred by Regulation 73-H dots not postulate a right to inspect the documents on which reliance is placed by the Committee or the right to cross-examine the person who had made the report regarding use of unfair means by the petitioner or the right to produce witnesses to controvert the said report.

5. It is not possible to accept the aforesaid contentions urged by the learned Counsel for the respondents. It cannot be disputed that the Committee while taking action against the petitioner on the basis of charges contained id the memorandum dated 25th August. 1977, was acting in a judicial capacity and was required to follow the principles of natural justice in arriving at its decision. In Board of High School and Intermediate Education v. Ghonshnyamdas : AIR1962SC1110 the Supreme Court was dealing with a similar case involving taking of action against an examinee using unfair means at the examination and the Supreme Court has observed:

We thus see that the Committee can only carry out its duties under Rule 1(1) by judging the materials, placed before it. It is true that there is no lis in the present case, in the sense that there are not two contesting parties before the Committee and the matter rests between the Committee and the examinee; at the same time considering that materials will have to be placed before the Committee to enable it to decide whether action should be taken under Rule 1(1), it seems to us only fair that the examinee against whom the Committee is proceeding should also be heard. The effect of the decision of the Committee may in an extreme case blast the career of a young student for life and in any case will put a serious stigma on the examinee concerned which may damage him in later life. The nature of mis-conduct which the Committee has to find under Rule 1(1) in some cases is of a serious nature, for example, impersonation, commission of fraud, and perjury; and the Committee's decision in matters of such seriousness may even lead in some cases to the prosecution of the examinee in courts. Considering therefore the serious effects following the decisions of the Committee and the serious nature of the misconduct which may be found in some cases under Rule 1(1), it seems to us that the Committee must be held to act judicially in circumstances as these.

We are therefore of opinion that the Committee when it exercises its powers under Rule 1(1) is acting quasi-judicially and the principles of natural justice which require that the other party, (namely, the examinee in this case) must be heard, will apply to the proceedings before the Committee.

6. Similarly in Board of High School and Intermediate Education v. Bagleshwar Prasad : [1963]3SCR767 , the Supreme Court has observed:

Enquiries held by domestic Tribunals in such cases must, no doubt, be fair and students against whom charges are framed must be given adequate opportunities to defend themselves, and in holding such enquiries, the Tribunals must scrupulously follow rules of natural justice; but it would, we think, not be reasonable to import into these inquiries all considerations which govern criminal trials in ordinary Courts of law.

7. In both these cases the Supreme Court has emphasised that examinee should have an opportunity of adequately presenting his case. Such an opportunity implies the right of the examinee to inspect the reports and documents which are relied upon in support of the charges levelled against an examinee so that he may be in a position to submit a suitable reply to the show cause notice served upon, him and is able to collect evidence to controvert the evidence sought to be relied upon by the University in support of the said charges. An opportunity to adequately present his case also includes the right of the examinee to establish his innocence by Cross-examining the persons on whose report or oral testimony reliance is being placed by the University as well as the right of the examinee to examine witnesses in support of his case.

8. Regulation 73-H framed by the University incorporates the principles of natural justice which are to be followed before a punishment is imposed on an examinee who is charged with having used unfair means at the examination and the said provisions should be so constured as to enable an examinee to be afforded an opportunity to adequately present his case.

9. The provisions in Regulation 73-H regarding the issue of a show cause notice to the examinee by the Committee and the right of the examinee to submit his explanation to the show cause notice, in my opinion, means that the examinee will have the right to make an effective representation and this will imply the right to inspect the reports and other relevant documents which have been considered by the Committee and on the basis of which the Committee has arrived at the prima facie conclusion that the examinee is guilty of the charges levelled against him. Similarly the right to a personal hearing conferred by Regulation 73-H on an examinee includes the right to cross-examine the persons en whose report or oral testimony reliance is being placed by the Committee as well as the right to adduce evidence, oral or documentary, to controvert the evidence on which reliance had been placed by the Committee and to establish his own case. In this context reference may be made to the decision of the Supreme Court in Malik Ram v. State of Rajasthan : [1962]1SCR978 . In that case the Supreme Court was dealing with the question whether the right to be given an opportunity of being heard conferred by Section 68-D of the Motor Vehicles Act includes the right to adduce oral and documentary evidence and the Supreme Court has observed:

A hearing before a quasi-judicial authority does not merely mean an argument; it may in proper cases include the taking of evidence both oral and documentary.

10. In my view, therefore, the right to be afforded an opportunity of showing cause against the proposed action and the right to a personal hearing which h conferred on a condition under Regulation 73-H includes the right to inspect the reports and other documents on which reliance has been placed by the Committee as well as the right to cross-examine the persons on whose reports and oral testimony reliance is being placed by the Committee. It also includes the right of the candidate to adduce other evidence, oral as well as documentary, in support of his defence.

11. It is not disputed that the petitioner was not afforded an opportunity to inspect the documents on which reliance has been placed by the Committee and the Syndicate and the petitioner was also not afforded an opportunity to cross-examine the person on whose report, the Committee had placed reliance. Thus, the principle of natural justice as embodied in Regulation 73-H have been violated.

12. Taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the view that the impugned order imposing on the petitioner the punishment of cancelling the examination of 1977 and debarring the petitioner from appearing at any examination to be held in the years 1978 and 1979 has been passed in violation of the principles of natural justice incorporated in Regulation 73-H framed by the University and it cannot be upheld.

13. The result is that the writ petition is allowed and the punishment imposed on the petitioner by the Syndicate as contained in the letter of the Registrar of University of Jodhpur (Ex. 5) dated 30th January, 1978 is quashed. There will be no order as to costs in this writ petition.


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