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Correspondent, Madathupatti Gopal Naicker College Vs. Madurai University Represented by Its Registrar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectConstitution
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1975)1MLJ323
AppellantCorrespondent, Madathupatti Gopal Naicker College
RespondentMadurai University Represented by Its Registrar
Excerpt:
- .....february, 1974, that the appellant college be recommended to the academic council and senate for disaffiliation with effect from the academic year 1974-75. the syndicate further resolved to inform the college authorities not to admit any student in any of the courses in the college during that academic year. the petition was dismissed by n.s. ramaswami j. the matter had its genesis in a complaint sent by some of the teachers of the college to the director of collegiate education, which in substance was two fold : (1) the college, had been permanently closed; and (2) while the teachers were paid their salary by cheques, they were asked to pay back to the correspondent a part of the salary alter cashing the cheques. this complaint was dated 1st october 1973. the director of collegiate.....
Judgment:

K. Veeraswami, C.J.

1. The appeal arises nut of an order in a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution to quash the resolution of the Syndicate of the Madurai University dated 16th February, 1974, that the appellant college be recommended to the Academic Council and Senate for disaffiliation with effect from the academic year 1974-75. The Syndicate further resolved to inform the college authorities not to admit any student in any of the courses in the college during that academic year. The petition was dismissed by N.S. Ramaswami J. The matter had its genesis in a complaint sent by some of the teachers of the college to the Director of Collegiate Education, which in substance was two fold : (1) the College, had been permanently closed; and (2) while the teachers were paid their salary by cheques, they were asked to pay back to the Correspondent a part of the salary alter cashing the cheques. This complaint was dated 1st October 1973. The Director of Collegiate Education forwarded the complaint to the Madurai University and asked for a Commission to be appointed to enquire. Such a Commission was appointed by the Syndicate, as we find from the communication of the University dated 20th October, 1973, to inspect the college on 26th October, 1973, and to send a report immediately about its functioning. The Commission widened its sphere of inspection beyond the scope of the complaint and in its report dated 17th November, 1973, it recommended to the University that the Management of the college be asked to take back all the members of the staff who had been sent out by the Correspondent, to rectify all defects in the accounts and to be regular in the payment of salary to the members of the staff. Finally it felt strongly that for continued healthy existence of the college, the present Correspondent should be changed at once. Regarding the closing of the college permanently, as was complained earlier, the Commission made no finding, because it appeared that though the Management had put up such a notice of permanent closure, as a matter of fact, the college re-opened within a few days. Apparently this event happened because of some agitation on the part of the teachers and students who resorted to strike. This report was sent to the Management, and the reply was dated 2nd December 1973. We may mention that in the communication of the University dated 26th November, 1973, asking for the Management's reply, it did not propose any disaffiliation. The communication merely said that a copy of the report of the Inspecting Commission was enclosed and the Correspondent was directed to place it before the Managing Committee of the College immediately and send a report relating to the rectification of the various defects. There was also a request to change the Correspondent in the interest of the college. The reply dealt with in detail each of the points emerging from the inspection report. On 8th January, 1974 the Registrar of the University, in his letter addressed to the Correspondent, said that the College had not fulfilled various conditions relating to affiliation;

(1) There was no qualified Principal for the College on regular basis since the inception of the college;

(2) Appointment of qualified Professors for English and Economics had not been made as per Commission's recommendations communicated to his office in July, 1972;

(3) There was no qualified Librarian;

(4) The College had no permanent buildings' and hostels ;

(5) The required endowment for the College had not yet fully been provided for in spite of repeated instructions ;

(6) The direction to reinstate the teachers whose services had been terminated on or after 1st October, 1973, had not been complied with ;

(7) The teachers had complained that their salaries had not been paid regularly and fully ; and

(8) The Enquiry Commission had also pointed out certain defects in the accounts of the College.

The Correspondent by his reply dated 21st January, 1974, stated as follows : The College was started in 1968-69. During the period of six years there were three Principals fully qualified and covered roughly three years as noted therein. One T. A. Subramanian, who was appointed as Principal in December, 1972, had been approved by the University in its communication dated 20th June, 1973 and he was on duty till the end of September, 1973 and resigned his Principalship on 12th October, 1973. Thus, according to the Correspondent, the college was having a qualified Principal from the start. As for the appointment of Professors for English and Economics Departments, he said that though he had made three or four advertisements in the newspapers, there was no response from qualified persons apparently because, normally persons having four years' teaching experience in degree classes in other major colleges might not consider it to their advantage to join a recently opened college situate in a backward area. As for want of a qualified Librarian, he said that at the time of his reply there had been a qualified Librarian working in that College. Regarding the buildings, his statement was that the College had two buildings which were as good as permanent buildings and that only they had no first floor. He also referred to the fact that the University authorities, namely, the Vice-Chancellor, the Registrar and the Director of Collegiate Education, themselves had visited the college and they had at that time made no unfavourable comment. All the same he proceeded to say that he had submitted blue print plans of the main building of the College having ground and first floors to the University for approval and the approval was being awaited. The hostel, according to him, was housed in a rented building which was in a good condition and the Management was quite earnest to put up a hostel building in a decent way close to the College site and plans and estimates were being got ready from qualified engineers. He promised that steps would be taken for the construction of the same costing roughly Rs. 6 lakhs as early as possible. He also enclosed along with the letter a copy of the plan for approval of the University. With regard to endowments, he said that endowments in the shape of landed properties had been gifted to the college by several persons, that the income certificates obtained from the Revenue Department officials had already been submitted to the University in June, 1972 that the annual estimated income was Rs. 44,000 and that by computing as per University's formula the amount would work out to Rs. 7,33,333. The correspondent made a further statement that as desired by the University, the gift deeds were obtained from each donor on a stamp paper of the value of Rs. 2.50 and submitted to the University along with his letter dated 14th June, 1972, and that the income derived from the lands had been shown in the annual accounts from 1970-71. The details of the income were also given. He, in the circumstances, asserted that the charge that the endowment of Rs. 5 lakhs was not fully provided for was not correct. As to the defects in the accounts also, the Correspondent offered his explanation.

2. At its meeting dated 16th February, 1974, the Syndicate considered the Commission's report and the reply of the Correspondent to the specific matters referred to in the communication of the University. What we find in the extracts from the minutes of the meeting is this. In the first column the defects are stated and in the second column the reply of the Correspondent is mentioned. Then, under each charge and the reply, an office note is found. For example, as to the first charge, namely, there was no qualified Principal for the College on regular basis since the inception of the College, all that the office note said is that from the inception of the college no one was on continuous service for more than one year and that even then, after the resignation of Thiru T.A. Subramanian, from 12th October, 1973, there was no qualified Principal for the College. It may be seen from the office note that it is not denied therein that the three Principals who had preceded Subramanian, were qualified. Likewise, under each of the charges and the reply, the office made its note. At the end of this, we find a resolution as follows:

Resovled that it be a recommendation to the Academic Council and Senate that the affiliation granted to the M.G.N. College be withdrawn with effect from the academic year 1974-75.

Resovled further that the College authorities be informed not to admit any student in any of the courses in the College during the academic year 1974-75.

On 30th April, 1974 the Registrar communicated to the appellant that the Academic Council had resolved at its meeting held on 15th March, 1974 that the temporary affiliation granted to the Madathupalti. Gopal Naicker College, Sankarankoil, during the year 1968-69 be withdrawn with effect from the academic year 1974-75 and that the Senate be authorised to take necessary action. We find from this communication that the Senate at its meeting held on 29th March, 1974 accepted the recommendation of the Academic Council and resolved that the temporary affiliation granted to the Madathupatti Gopal Naicker College, Sankarankoil during the year 1968-69 be withdrawn with effect from the academic year 1974-75 The appellant prayed unsuccessfully in his petition for the quashing of this order.

3. The Regulations which govern affiliation and disaffiliation are to be found in Chapter XXVI of the Calendar issued by the Madurai University for 1969-70. This chapter occurs under the caption 'Laws of the University Statutes'. Clause 1 (a) in this chapter relating to affiliation and approval of colleges defines the term 'Affiliated college' as any college within the University area affiliated to the University and providing courses of study for admission to the examination for degrees of the University and includes a college deemed to be affiliated to the University. This definition shows that for purposes of affiliation of the college, it should be within the University area and it should provide courses of study for admission to the examinations for degrees of the University and the term would also include a college deemed to be affiliated to the University. Clause 3, which is the statute, as it is termed, relates to the procedure for withdrawal of affiliation or approval, and it reads:

3. The Syndicate shall have the power, at any time after due enquiry, and after consultation with the Academic Council, to recommend to the Senate the withdrawal or suspension for a definite period, of the affiliation or approval granted to a college; provided that before a making such recommendation, the Syndicate shall inform the management of college concerned of its findings after the enquiry and shall allow it an opportunity of making such representation as it may deem fit, and shall record its opinion on the representation so made. The report of the enquiry, the representation made by the management if any, and the opinion of the Syndicate thereon shall be placed before the Academic Council and the Senate along with the recommendation of the Syndicate. The Syndicate shall carry out the decision of the Senate, on the recommendation.

The conditions for recognition, affiliation or approval are contained in statute or Clause 9, and they are as follows:

9. Every college shall satisfy the. Syndicate on the following points:

1. the suitability and adequacy of its accommodation and equipment for teaching ;

2. the character, qualifications and adequacy of its teaching staff and the conditions of their service ;

(3) the residence, physical welfare, discipline and supervision of its students; and

(4) such other matters as are essential for the maintenance of the tone and standards of University education.

In regard to the matters referred to above, the Syndicate shall be guided by the reports of inspections and by any rules which may be prescribed.

4. It seems to us that in order to determine the scope and effect of statute 3 relating to the power of withdrawal of affiliation it has to be read along with statute 9. Directing our attention to statute 3 itself, it emerges that the Syndicate has the power to withdraw. But in exercising that power, they must have held before, a due enquiry. The enquiry contemplated is related to disaffiliation or withdrawal of affiliation. The proviso to this statute is specific that before the Syndicate exercises its power of withdrawal it has to consult the Academic Council and recommend to the Senate eventually for withdrawal of recognition or affiliation. The proviso to the statute is very important for it lays down the specific procedure to be followed by the Syndicate which can make recommendation. For making recommendation for withdrawal, the Syndicate has to institute an enquiry, arrive at definite findings and allow the college concerned an opportunity of making representation and again the Syndicate shall record its opinion on the representation received. The report of the enquiry, the representation made by the management, if any, and the opinion of the Syndicate thereon shall be placed before the Academic Council and the Senate along with the recommendation of the Syndicate. In our opinion, the enquiry contemplated should necessarily be for purposes of statute 3 on a proposal for disaffiliation and its findings should also pertain to that matter. The opportunity is to meet those findings and the opinion referred to in the statute is on such representation. We may also mention that the grounds of disaffiliation should be related to the conditions of affiliation for it is only on a violation of any of those conditions that this serious consequence of disaffiliation can follow.

5. What is the procedure followed in this case? The whole matter, as we earlier indicated, started with a complaint. It was confined only to two matters, to wit, the college had been closed permanently, and while the teachers were-paid their salaries by cheque, they were asked to pay back to the Correspondent a part of the salary after cashing the cheques. The Commission of inspection; was appointed at the instance of the Director of Collegiate Education. The University did not set out the grounds or charges, in respect of which the inspection should be made. It merely asked the-Commission to go into the affairs of the college and make a report. When the report was received, the University sent it along with a covering letter to the college asking that the defects should be rectified and that the Correspondent should be replaced. Even at this stage no proposal for disaffiliation was made. It may, therefore, be assumed that the inspection report and the steps immediately followed by the University did not pertain to disaffiliation. It was only when the management was unresponsive to the request for replacing the Correspondent, the University set out certain specific charges and proposed disaffiliation. The extracts from the minutes of the Syndicate proceedings show that what was relied on by it was only the office note in respect of each charge and the reply of the Correspondent thereto, and there is nothing in the minutes to show that it gave any findings beyond the resolution to disaffiliate. When statute 3 speaks of findings after due enquiry, it means not merely a resolution of the Syndicate but a finding in the sense that it has got to give its view with brief facts relating thereto. Not only so, when the explanation was received from the correspondent with reference to the findings of the Syndicate, the Syndicate should itself express its opinion on it but the Syndicate did not do it. The only opinion that we find recorded in the extracts is that of the office of the University, not of the Syndicate. Nor do we find that the note was closely related to the violation of any of the conditions contemplated by Statute 9. This procedure, in our opinion, was not in accordance with the University's Statutes 3 and 9 in Chapter XXVI. The disaffiliation order is, therefore, vitiated and stands. quashed.

6. Before taking leave of this matter we should observe that disaffiliation of college, a serious matter as it is, should not be normally visited on a college only on grounds of mismanagement, but should be related to the violation of one or the other of the conditions for affiliation. Even then, extra care will have to be taken by the University before making an order of disaffiliation for it is easy to destroy but difficult to create a college. We are also constrained to point out that mismanagement of a college should not be confused and mixed up with grounds for disaffiliation of a college. The college, as an institution, might not be responsible for acts of mismanagement. In the case of acts of mismanagement, the remedy is to rectify the mismanagement or to replace the management rather than for that reason, to put the college out of existence, as it has happened in this case.

7. We allow the appeal, which means that the order of disaffiliation shall stand quashed. There will be no order as to costs.


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