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C.D. Sekkilar Vs. R. Krishnamoorthy - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberWrit Petition No. 224 of 1951
Judge
Reported inAIR1952Mad151; (1951)2MLJ568
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226
AppellantC.D. Sekkilar
RespondentR. Krishnamoorthy
Appellant AdvocateT.S. Venkataraman and ;S. Vaidhyanathan, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateK. Sanjeevi Naidu, Adv.
DispositionApplication dismissed
Cases ReferredLakshmikant Shripat v. C. R. Gerrard
Excerpt:
constitution - readmission - article 226 of constitution of india - petition sought direction for principal to readmit petitioner who was dismissed from college for misconduct - maintenance of discipline and standards of behavior of students in college entrusted to principal or other officers of institution - court will not interfere such discretion of authority unless authority acted arbitrarily - court remitted back matter for consideration by principal and college council. - - the petitioner affirms that he was wrongfully expelled from the hostel because he complained to one of the trustees about the scarcity of water in the bath room and the enhancement of the mess rate. he complained to him of a specific instance, namely, that when he was getting up the stair case, the.....ordersubba rao, j.1. this is an application for issuing a writ of mandamus directing the principal of the pachiappa's college to readmit the petitioner to the final year economics honours class.2. the petitioner was a student of the final year economics honours class in the pachiappa's college, madras. in 1949 he had been expelled from the hostel attached to the pachiappa's college on 24 hours notice. the principal says that he had to be expelled because of his improper behaviour. the petitioner affirms that he was wrongfully expelled from the hostel because he complained to one of the trustees about the scarcity of water in the bath room and the enhancement of the mess rate. on 19th july 1950, the principal wrote a letter to the petitioner's father informing him that his son's behaviour.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Subba Rao, J.

1. This is an application for issuing a Writ of Mandamus directing the principal of the Pachiappa's College to readmit the petitioner to the Final Year Economics Honours Class.

2. The petitioner was a student of the final year Economics Honours Class in the Pachiappa's College, Madras. In 1949 he had been expelled from the hostel attached to the Pachiappa's College on 24 hours notice. The Principal says that he had to be expelled because of his improper behaviour. The petitioner affirms that he was wrongfully expelled from the hostel because he complained to one of the trustees about the scarcity of water in the bath room and the enhancement of the mess rate. On 19th July 1950, the Principal wrote a letter to the petitioner's father informing him that his son's behaviour had not shown any improvement even at the beginning of the year. He complained to him of a specific instance, namely, that when he was getting up the stair case, the petitioner in the presence of about 50 students mentioned in the most contemptuous language 'What does it matter if the Principal comes'. To this letter, the petitioner's father replied on 21-7-1950 wherein he complained that his son was expelled from the hostel for a small mistake and that consequently he had to spend large amounts. He appealed to him to treat his son as his son and to permit him to continue his studies. On 12-7-1951 about 4 p. m. an incident took place at the office room of the College. As to what happened at that place, there are conflicting versions. The petitioner's version is : On 12-7-1951 at about 4 p. m. he asked the clerk of the College to give him a railway concession form for students to obtain his season pass to travel by electric train to reach the college. The clerk concerned informed him that forms could be issued only between 1-30 p.m. and 3 p. m. At 4-30 p. m. the petitioner saw the clerk Issuing the said forms to other students. He went into the office room and asked the clerk why he made this discrimination. The clerk assumed a haughty attitude and indulged in threatening and abusive language and said that he could do what he wanted and might even take the matter to ths President of the Trust Board. He replied that he was not so childish as to report this silly matter to the President. Just then the Principal stepped in and the position was eased with the result that the Principal himself got a form for him the next day with which he purchased the ticket. The Principal gives an entirely different version of what took place that day. According to him what happened was this. On 12-7-1951 at 3.15 p. m. the petitioner went to the College to apply for South Indian Railway concession form from the clerk concerned. He asked the petitioner to come for the forms in the hours stipulated therefor. On hearing this, the petitioner flared up at once and abused the clerk and created a scene. The Head clerk then asked the petitioner not to create any scene but to bring the matter to the notice of the Principal and thereupon the petitioner had talked disparagingly about the Principal. When the Head clerk asked the petitioner to report the matter to the President of the Trust Board, he abused in vulgar language the President of the Trust Board, the principal and the other members of the management. When he returned to his room at 3.30 p.m, he found the petitioner coming into the office room shouting. Then he took him to his office room and asked him the reason for his unseemly behaviour. He complained about the partiality of the office staff and talked in disrespectful and contemptuous language against the management and he had to ask him to go away. In the reply affidavit the petitioner denied that he called the respondent and the members of the management all sorts of names in indecent language or that he indulged in behaviour not worthy of a standard (Sic. Student). The version given by the Principal is supported by the affidavits filed by Gopala Chetty, despatching clerk, Chen-galvaroyan, Librarian, Pattabhiraman, Head Clerk, Venkatarao, one of the clerks, Krishnamachary, Assistant Professor in Telgu and Bhujangaraya Sarma, another Assistant Professor in Telugu. On enquiry, the Principal found that the behaviour of the student was such as to deserve disciplinary action. On 12-7-1951, he had taken statements from Chockalingam, Bhashyaramanujam, Seetha-pathi, Venkatarao, Krishnamachari, Bhujangaraya Sanna, Pattabhiraman and Ramachandran, who all described in detail what had all taken place in the office. The Principal called for an urgent meeting on 17-7-1951 of the members of the College Council. The College Council in their proceedings dated 17th July 1951 after having listened to the report of the Principal and the evidence of the office staff and the Assistant Professors unanimously resolved that the petitioner be sent out of the college for his grave misconduct.

3. The Principal says in his counter that on 18-7-1951 at about 11-15 a.m. he sent for the petitioner, who was in his class room but did not turn up and that at 11-45 a.m. he went to the class room of the petitioner and brought him to his chambers. When he put before him all the facts as stated by the clerk and the other members of the staff and asked him why he behaved in such a manner and used such indecent and insulting language, the Principal says the petitioner totally denied that he abused anybody or created any scene and turned round and called the Head clerk a liar and also the Principal a liar. The Principal then instructed his head clerk to get his Transfer Certificate ready and as soon as it was brought to him he signed it and handed it over to him. The petitioner refused to receive the certificate and proceeded straight to his class. As the petitioner refused to leave the class, the Principal requested the Professor to disperse the class for that day and the Transfer Certificate was thereafter sent to him by post on 20-7-1951. In regard to this incident, the petitioner gives a different story. According to him, the statements were taken by the Principal at a later stage as a counterblast to his protesting and rousing indignation against their partiality. He admits that the Principal orally intimated to him on 18-7-1951 about the conclusion arrived at by the College Council but states that he did not give him any opportunity to establish his innocence. According to the Principal, on the morning of 19th July 1951, when the classes were working peacefully in both the Science or Arts blocks, the petitioner at the head of about 100 students entered the Science block of the College at about 11-10 a.m. and from there came 'en masse' to the Arts block at about 11-30 a. m. shouting slogans like 'Down with the Principal' disturbing the classes and persuading the students to come out. Fearing that some damage might be done to the College property, the Principal closed the college at about 11-45 a. m. for the day.

4. The petitioner does not deny that incident but described the demonstration by the students as one made in a peaceful and orderly manner as protest against the high-handed action of the respondent and the College authorities in the treatment of a fellow-student of theirs. The petitioner's father by letter dated 19-7-1951 requested the Principal to reconsider the position, and permit the petitioner to prosecute his studies as before but the Principal replied giving all the details which necessitated the drastic action taken by him and expressed his view that there is no need to reconsider his case. The petitioner having failed in his attempt to get himself reinstated filed the present mandamus petition for the aforesaid relief.

5. The learned Counsel for the petitioner contended that his client has a legal right to continue his studies in the College and that the act of the Principal and that of the College Council in sending him out of the College was arbitrary and against the fundamental principles of natural justice and therefore he would be entitled to a Writ of mandamus. The learned Counsel for the respondent raised a preliminary objection that the present application for mandamus was not maintainable as such a writ would not issue against a private institution and that the petitioner had an adequate remedy by instituting a regular suit if his rights were in any way interfered with. He further argued that the action of the Principal and of the College Council in sending out the student from the College for misconduct is a question entirely within their jurisdiction and the High Court will not interfere with their discretion in the exercise of their disciplinary jurisdiction. The first question therefore is whether a writ of mandamus will issue against the authorities of a collage directing them to allow a student to continue his studies in thu college when he was dismissed by them in exercise of their disciplinary jurisdiction.

6. The right of the High Court to issue writs like mandamus is governed by Article 226 of the Constitution of India. It reads:

'Notwithstanding anything in Article 32 every High Court shall have power throughout territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction to issue to any person or authority including in proper cases any Government within those territories, directions orders or writs including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus prohibition, quo warrants and certiorari or any of them for enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III and for any other purpose.' The power of the High Court is expressed in general terms and the words are susceptible of the construction sought to be put upon them by the learn-ed Counsel for the petitioner that under the Article a Writ of Mandamus could be issued not only against persons entrusted with public duties but also against persons discharging duties other than public. But this construction is no longer open in view of the Bench decision of this Court reported in 'In re Thippasami' 64 Mad L W 665. There an application was flled purporting to be under Article 226 of the Constitution at the instance of a minor by his guardian for directions in the nature of a Writ of Mandamus directing the respondents to forbear from cutting the trees standing on certain survey numbers in a village and from removing the timber from the said lands. The learned Judges Rajamannar C. J. and Balakrishna Aiyar J. lay down the scope of a Writ of Mandamus under Article 226 of the Constitution of India as follows: 'In our opinion Article 226 of the Constitution should not be construed so as to replace the ordinary remedies by way of a suit and application available to the litigant under the general law of the land. Directions in the nature of a writ of mandamus should not, in our opinion, issue under this article except to a public, a quasi-public body or officer which is under an obligation, statutory or otherwise to do or refrain from doing anything which is likely to interfere with the rights of persons.'

To put in other words, the learned Judges held, that the scope of a Writ of Mandamus under Article 326 is not different from that obtaining in England. The law on the subject, as administered in England is succinctly stated in Halsbury's Laws of England, 2nd Edn. IX volume at page 744 as follows:

'The writ of mandamus is a high prerogative writ of a most extensive remedial nature and is, in form, a command issuing from the High Court of Justice directed to any person, corporation, or inferior Court, requiring Him or them to do some particular thing therein specified which appertains to his or their office and is in the nature of a public duty. Its purpose is to supply defects of justice and accordingly it will issue to the end that justice may be done, in all cases where there is a specific legal right and no specific legal remedy for enforcing such right and it may issue in cases where, although there is an alternative legal remedy, yet such mode of redress is less convenient, beneficial and effectual.'

I accept the statement as a complete and brief summary of the law on the subject. This power to issue a writ of mandamus is embodied in Section 45 of the Specific Relief Act, 1877. Section 45 reads as follows: '

'Any of the High Courts of judicature at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay may make an order requiring any specific act to be done or forborne, within the local limits of its ordinary original civil jurisdiction by any person holding a public office, whether of a permanent or a temporary nature, or by any corporation or inferior Court of judicature.

Provided (a) that an application for such order be made by some person whose property, franchise or personal right would be injured by the forbearing or doing (as the case may be) of the paid specific act;

(b) that such doing or forbearing is, under the law for the time being in force, clearly incumbent on such person or Court in his or its public character or on such corporation in its corporated character;

(c) that in the opinion of the High Court suchdoing or forbearing is consonant to right andjustice;

(d) that the applicant has no other specific andadequate legal remedy, and (e) that the remedy given by the order appliedfor will be complete'.

Under Section 45 the power to issue directions in thenature of a writ of mandamus is confined to theordinary original civil jurisdiction. But under Article226 of the Constitution of India this writ can beissued throughout the Madras State. The otherprovisions of the section laying down the limits ofthe exercise of jurisdiction is nothing more thanthe limits of the writ of mandamus issued by theKing's Bench Division of the High Court of Justicein England. Under this section, a Writ will beissued against any person holding a public officeor a corporation or an inferior Court of judicature. An application can be filed only by a personwhose property, franchise or personal right wouldbe injured and the Court will compel only such aperson if the doing or forbearing is incumbent onsuch person in his public character under any lawfor the time being in force.

7. The learned counsel for the respondent therefore contended that the principal is neither a person holding a public office nor is the forbearing to discharge the duty of a public character imposed on him under any law for the time being in force. It is therefore necessary to ascertain the character of the principal's office and the duties imposed on him by any statute or rules framed thereunder.

8. The Pachaiyappa's College is conducted by the Pachiappa Trust from out of the funds of the Pachiappa charities, which is admittedly a public charitable endowment. The charities owe their origin to the endowment made by late Pachiappa Mudali and later augmented by donations made or endowments created by philanthropicany minded gentlemen from time to time. The High Court of Madras framed a scheme under Section 92, C.P.C., where-under provision was made for the management of the various institutions.

9. Under Clause 4 (1) the College Council is empowered to deal with the promotion, removal or expuision of students. Under Clause 4 (a) the Executive Management of the College and of the High School attached thereto shall subject to the general control of the Board of Trustees be vested in the Principal of Pachiappa's College assisted by a College Council. Under Clause 4 (c) save as herein otherwise provided, the principal shall ordinarily be bound by the opinion of the majority of the College Council but may overrule such opinion and shall then submit to the Board of Trustees in writing his reasons for dissenting from the views of the Council together with such minutes on the subject as the Council or individual members thereof may wish to record for the consideration and final decision of the Board of Trustees. Clause 4 (r) says that as regards the students of the College, thy Principal shall have exclusive control in matter of discipline and punishment and the Council shall not be entitled to interfere therein except in cases of expulsion.

10. The Madras Educational Rules divide Educational Institutions into two main classes 'Public' and 'Private.' Six classes of public institutions are given, one of them being Colleges affiliated to the University of Madras. All other educational institutions arc classed as private institutions. Public institutions are classified into two categories (i) those under the management of the Government or local boards or Municipal Councils known as institutions under public management, and (ii) those under the management of private persons or associations known as institutions under private management. Public institutions under private managements are classified into aided and unaided according as they do or do not receive aid from the public fund. It is not disputed that Pachiappa's College is a public Institution coming under the second category and that it also receives aid from public funds. Chapter VIII of the rules provide for disciplinary regulations in regard to colleges. Rules 95 provides that Headmasters, Principals or other constituted school, college or hostel authorities may frame and issue from time to time disciplinary rules of a permanent or temporary character regulating the conduct within this school, college, or hostel precincts of students on the rolls. Rule 97 says that Headmasters, Principals or other constituted school, college or hostel authorities shall have full power to inflict the following punishments in the interests of the students or the institutions concerned:

Fine, loss of attendance, loss of term certificates,. suspension and expulsion.

It is also provided therein that in cases of colleges such disciplinary regulations as may be issued by the respective universities to which they are affiliated and as are not inconsistent with the regulations in this Chapter will also apply.

11. It will be seen from the aforesaid rules and the clauses of the scheme that the Pachiappa's College is a public institution, that the principal and the college council in discharge of their duties are governed by the Madras Educational Rules, by the disciplinary Regulations issued by the University and by the clauses of the scheme framed by the High Court. It may therefore be held that the Principal is holding a quasi-public office and is bound to discharge his duties in accordance with the rules governing this institution and regulating his conduct.

12. in this connection the learned counsel for the respondent cited betore me a long catena of cases. I shall now proceed to dear briefly with the relevant cases, which throw light on the question now raised. The learned counsel for the respondent strongly relied upon the decision reported in 'Ex parte Mann' (1916) 32 TLR 479. It is laid down therein that a mandamus will not be issued against a tribunal to do an act, which it is not authorised to do in pursuance of any statutory authority. It is not necessary to canvass the correctness of this proposition as in this case I have already pointed out that the Principal is bound to exercise his jurisdiction in compliance with the Educational Rules, the regulations made by the University and the clauses of the scheme framed by the High Court. The decision in 'The King v. Benchers of Lincoln's Inn' (1825) 107 E R 1277 is relied upon for the proposition that a Court cannot compel an institution to admit a student. In that case, one Wooier made an application at the Steward's office of the Society of Lincoln's Inn to have his name enrolled as a member of that society and left a paper containing his name, etc. conformably to the regulations of the society. His application was rejected by the Benchers. He applied for an opportunity to be heard but he was rejected. He then applied to the High Court for a rule calling upon the Masters, Treasurers, and Benchers of Lincoln's Inn to show cause why a writ of mandamus should not issue commanding them to admit him as a member of their society for the purpose of qualifying himself to be called to the Bar. That application was dismissed mainly on the ground that he had no inchoate right to be admitted as a member of the association and there was no obligation on the part of the association to admit him. At page 1279, Abbot, C. J., made the following remarks:

'It has been argued that every individual has 'prima facie' an inchoate right to be a member of one of these societies for the purpose of qualifying himself to practise as a barrister. If that proposition were established, there would be a sufficient ground for granting a mandamus but I apprehend that there is no such inchoate right. It might as well be said that every individual had an inchoate right to be admitted a member of the College in either of the Universities or College of Physicians or any other establishment of that nature. But supposing an individual were desirous to practice medicine in London, this Court would not grant a mandamus to compel the College of Physicians to admit him as one of their members or as a licentiate. I think therefore that in this case we ought not to grant a mandamus.'

Bayley, J., says in the same page:

'They make their own rules as to the admissionof members and even if they act capriciouslyupon the subject this Court can give no remedyin such a case, because in fact there has beenno violation of any right This case is analogousto that of a college.'

But to my mind there is an esssential distinction between admission to a college and illegal removal or expulsion of a student. In the latter case, it cannot be said that he has no right to have a particular thing done and there is no obligation upon the other party to do it. If he is a student of the College, he is entitled to not to be removed otherwise than under the procedure prescribed under the rules and if the Principal acts arbitrarily or contrary to the rules, he has got a right to compel the principal to allow him to continue to study In the college.

13. In 'The King v. The Chancellors, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge' 82 E R 818 an application for issuing a writ of mandamus was taken out to restore one Richard Bentley to his degree of Doctor of Divinity. He had been degraded by the Vice-Cnancellor's Court of the University of Cambridge for having been guilty Of contempt in speasing approorious words against the Vice-Chancellor. One of the grounds of objection raised by Mr. Bentiey was that in the Vice-Chancellor's Court he was not summoned which was against natural justice and against law of GOD and man. At page 819, the learned Judges held that:

'This is a very proper mandamus for it is to restore a member of a great corporation to a great office, a dignity and a free-hold. First an office that concerns the Government of a corporation and so agreed in the return. And is not the Government of so great an University as Cambriage of as great concern as the Government of a poor borough?'

The mandamus was issued on the only ground that the petitioner was not summoned in the Court. There is no analogy on facts between this case and that before me but this decision was relied upon by the learned counsel for the petitioner in support of his contention that an order made which is against natural justice and against the law of God and man is bad. 'Ezra v. Mahendranath' I.L.R. (1946) 2 Cal 88 relates to the exclusion of a member from the masonic conclave. The expelled member filed a suit for a declaration that the expelling resolution is null and void and that he is still a member of the conclave and for an injunction restraining the respondent and other officers and members of the conclave from preventing him from participating in its management and exercising his rights and privilege as a member. As notice of the charge that the petitioner has instituted criminal proceedings against a brother masonic was not given to him, the learned Judges in that case held that the appellant was not properly, correctly and legally expelled. This case does not relate to a writ of mandamus and does not really afford any guide. It is relied upon only for the purpose of showing that expulsion without giving notice of charges for which one is expelled is contrary to the principles of natural justice and is therefore bad in law. The decision in 'Ambalal Saraohai v. Phiroz H. Antia' : AIR1939Bom35 relates to a club. A member of the club had been expelled by a resolution of the members of the club. The requisition for the meeting gave no reasons whatever for the expulsion nor was there any correspondence between the plaintiff and the Managing Committee or Honorary Secretary or any member with respect to the reasons for the expulsion. The expelled member did not attend the meeting. The Court held that the action on the part of the members of the club offended against the elementary principle of natural justice and reason and Justified interference by a civil Court and the plaintiff was entitled to the relief claimed by him. This decision also does not really bear on the question to be decided. The question arose in a suit, the institution concerned is a Club and the expulsion made therein was contrary to all the principles of natural Justice. But a case reported in 'Woods v. Simpson' 39 A.L .R. 1016, is very instructive. There a girl student of the university of Maryland was refused admittance to the third year of work after she had finished the first two years. This girt student was not readily submissive to the rules and regulations and that during her two years at the University she was, to a considerable extent, in conflict with the authorities who had her in charge. It appears that a Washington newspaper was supplied with a report professing to have been furnished by the girl students of the college to the effect that men officials of the University were making objectionable suggestions to girl students and otherwise exhibiting a wrong moral attitude towards them. Unlike what generally happens in the Colleges of our State, a students mass meeting passed a resolution of confidence in the administration, denying the report and all voting in favour of the resolution except the petitioner and one other. The Principal invited the petitioner and asked her whether or not she had sent the report. She replied that she could not answer that question. As she did not comply with that request, she was transferred to some other University. She brought proceedings in Baltimore for the issue of a writ of mandamus to compel the officers of the University of Mary-land to permit her to continue her course. The City Court of Baltimore issued the mandamus but on appeal that order was set aside by the appellate Court. The following observations of Bond, C. J., may usefully be stated:

'The maintenance of discipline, the upkeep of the necessary tone and standards of behaviour in a body of students in a college is of course a task committed to its faculty and officers, not to the Courts. It is a task which demands special experience and is often one of much delicacy, especially in dealing with girl students and the officers must of necessity be left untrammelled in handling the problems which arise as their judgment and discretion may dictate, looking to the ends to be accomplished. Only in extraordinary situations can a Court of law ever be called upon to step in between students and the officers in charge of them. When it is made clear that an action with respect to a student has not an honest exercise of discretion, looking to the proper ends, but beyond the limits of that discretion or arising from some motive extraneous to the purposes committed to that discretion, the Courts may be called upon for relief. In such case the officials have, as it is sometimes stated, acted arbitrarily or abused their discretion and the Courts may be required to remedy that.'

14. Another case which also throws much light on the question Is 'Lakshmikant Shripat v. C. R. Gerrard : AIR1947Bom193 . In that case a young man named Lakshmikant Shripat Bhandare was a student of the J. J. School of Arts. He filed an application in the Bombay High Court under Section 45 of the Specific Relief Act and asked for an order directing the respondent who was a Director of the Institution to forbear from enforcing an order purporting to expel him from the J. J. School of Arts and from preventing the petitioner from attending the said school. The application was dismissed on the preliminary ground but the learned Judge proceeded to consider the other questions raised. At page 193, Blagden J., says:

'It is perfectly true that the headmaster of a school or the principal of a college in the administration of his establishment has not got arbitrary and unfettered powers to expel students as and when he thinks fit or even to do so merely because he thinks that the interests or the institution require their expulsion. He cannot for example expel a pupil merely because he dislikes his appearance or even because he thinks, disregarding the interests of the pupil, that the school would be a better place without that pupil. He is bound to take into account the interests both of the particular pupil and of the other pupils. There is no indication in the present case that there has been any departure from that course.'

15. At page 198 the learned Judge proceeds to state that:

'that case alone seems to me to show that continued defiance of scholastice discipline is a thing in itself quite inconsistent with the rela-tionsnip which ought to exist between the teacher and the taught and if persisted it can only result in the pupil's being dismissed, for it is continues it must completely undermine the teacher's authority over other pupils.'

16. The following principles emerge from a consideration of the aroresaid case-law on the subject; (1) Though the provisions of Article 226 of the Constitution of India are apparently wide, directions in the nature of a writ of mandamus should not issue except to a public or quasi-public body or officer which is under an obligation, statutory or otherwise to do or refrain from doing anything and which is likely to interfere with the rights of persons (ii) A student studying in a College has a personal right to continue to study therein till the course is completed or he has otherwise been removed or expelled in strict compliance with the rules governing the institution, (iii) The Principal of an institution maintained from the funds of a public trust contributed from public funds affiliated to the University and governed by the rules of the University, and the scheme framed by the High Court is certainly a person holding a quasi public office; (iv) The maintenance of discipline, the upkeep of the necessary tone and standards of behaviour in a body of students in such a college is primarily entrusted to the Principal or other officers of the institution. The High Court will not interfere with the discretion of such an authority unless it is clearly established that the authority concerned has not honestly exercised the discretion, actuated by some motive extraneous to the purpose committed to their discretion. To put in other words, the High Court will not interfere unless the authority concerned acted arbitrarily or abused his discretion; (v) The principle of natural justice is an elastic conception especially when applied to educational institutions. It is wrong to import the conception of 'lis' in the dealings of a Principal with his students. The Court will alone interfere, if it be satisfied on a consideration of the entire material placed before it that the action of the authority concerned is, arbitrary, is due to a mala fide exercise of discretion actuated by extraneous circumstances.

17. Following the aforesaid principles, can it be said in this case that the principal of the College acted arbitrarily in the exercise of his discretion or actuated by any extraneous circumstances? The learned counsel for the petitioner rightly conceded that he could not ask the Court to go into the correctness or otherwise of the action taken by the principal. Nor does he pursue the line suggested in the affidavit that he was actuated by extraneous circumstances. But he pressed on me to hold that the order directing his client to leave the College was made behind his back without giving him an opportunity to explain the charges made against him and therefore is arbitrary. But a perusal of the records does not disclose that the principal acted arbitrarily. I have no hesitation to accept the facts, as stated in the Principal's affidavit especially as some of the said facts were corroborated in all the mateiral particulars by the affidavits filed by the Assistant Lecturers. The petitioner had been expelled once from the hostel. As early as 19-7-1950, the Principal complained to the petitioner's father that the petitioner's behaviour was not as it should be. On 12-7-1951 at 3-30 p.m., the principal says he took him to his room and questioned him about his unseemly behaviour but the petitioner complained against the office staff. On the 12th itself the staff of the College Including two of the lecturers made statements to the Principal narrating the particulars of his behaviour in the office. On the nth the college council made an enquiry, listened to the report of the principal and unanimously resolved to send the petitioner out of the college. On the 18th at 11-15 a.m., the respondent sent for the petitioner who was in his class room but he did not turn up. At 11-45 a.m., the principal' went to the class room and brought him to his chambers. When he put to him all the facts as stated to him by the clerks and the other members of the staff, the petitioner totally denied that he abused anybody or created any scene and turned round and called the head clerk a liar and also the respondent a liar. As the petitioner refused to take the certificate and did not leave the room, the class had to be dispersed that day. On the 19th, a demonstration by 100 students was held in the college premises and the college had to be closed that day. I cannot say from the aforesaid circumstances that the principal acted arbitrarily. If so, as the principal is the authority to exercise disciplinary Jurisdiction, he was within his rights to ask the student to leave the college,

18. I do not see much force in the argument of the learned counsel for the respondent that this Court has no power to issue a writ as the petitioner can file a suit for declaration of his right. Such a remedy cannot be an adequate remedy for by the time the suit is disposed of, the term of the college may run out.

19. But before closing, I would not be doing my duty if I did not express the feeling that oppressed me during the arguments and of which I gave expression on more than one occasion that the object or discipline might have been better served if the principal had accepted the unconditional apology agreed to be tendered by the student and the undertaking by the father guaranteeing the future good conduct of his son, and magnanimously pardoned him as a father would do his son rather than putting a seal of finality of the punishment inflicted by him. That would have enhanced the prestige of the principal and of his college in the eyes of not only his students present and future but also the public. Though it is not within my province to dictate what the principal should or should not do to meet a particular contingency I express my view for the consideration of the Principal and the College Council.

20. In the result, the application is dismissed, but in the circumstances without costs.


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