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Bijoy Ranjan Rakshit Vs. State Medical Faculty of West Bengal and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 3285 of 1952
Reported inAIR1954Cal193
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226; ;State Medical Faculty of West Bengal Rule - Rule 1; ;State Medical Faculty of West Bengal Regulation - Section 6
AppellantBijoy Ranjan Rakshit
RespondentState Medical Faculty of West Bengal and anr.
Appellant AdvocatePriti Bhusan Barman and ;Jnanendra Mohan De, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateHemendra Kumar Das and ;D.N. Basu, Advs.
Cases ReferredUniversity of Calcutta v. Dipa Pal
- .....that rule demands that a person should not be condemned unheard. there is however no hard and fast rule governing such an enquiry. as long as it can fairly be inferred that the person charged with some omission or commission has been able to place his case before the enquiring authority, the rule is satisfied.6. in -- 'board of education v. rice', (1911) ac 179 at p. 182 (a), lord loreburn l. g. said as follows:'comparatively recent statutes have extended if they have not originated, the practice of imposing upon departments or affairs of state the duty of deciding or determining questions of various kinds. in the present instance, as in many others, what comes for determination is sometimes a matter to be settled by discretion, involving no law. it will i suppose, usually be of an.....

Sinha, J.

1. The facts of this case are shortly as follows:

2. The petitioner is a Matriculate of the University of Calcutta. In 1947, he got himself admitted into the Chittagong Medical School in Eastern Pakistan for the purpose of obtaining a L. M. P. degree. In 1948, he passed the primary examination. In February 1950, owing to communal disturbances in Eastern Pakistan, the petitioner and his family came out to India as refugees. After coming to India the petitioner continued his medical studies and got himself admitted into the Burdwan Ronaldshay Medical School which is an institution run by the State Medical Faculty of West Bengal (hereinafter referred to as the 'Faculty'). In November 1950. the petitioner appeared in the Intermediate Examination conducted by the Faculty and out of the three subjects prescribed in such examination the petitioner passed in two subjects, namely Physiology and Pharmacology, but was unsuccessful in the third subject, namely Anatomy.

Under rule 4 of the Rules and Regulations of the Faculty, a candidate who fails in one subject only is, on payment of a certain fee permitted to appear in that subject at the next six monthly examination, and if he passes, he is to be held passed in the entire examination. A candidate fail-ing to pass in that six monthly examination is however required to appear in all subjects of the examination. By virtue of this rule, the petitioner got a chance to appear in the Anatomy paper in the June term of 1951. In April, 1951, the Medical School where the petitioner was prosecuting his studies held a test examination and the petitioner stood first in Anatomy. Thereafter the petitioner appeared at the June term of the Intermediate examination of the Faculty which was held on or about the 7th of June, 1951. Under the rules, the petitioner had to sit for a theoretical examination in Anatomy and also for oral and practical examination. The theoretical examination was held on the aforesaid date, namely, the 7th June, 1951, and on the 18th of June, 1951, the oral and practical examinations were held.

It is alleged that the petitioner fared well in all the examinations. It appears that about 71 students from different schools in West Bengal appeared in the said examination of the June term held in the Burdwan centre. Under the rules and regulations framed for the conduct of these medical examinations, the examinations at the different centres are conducted under the supervision of a Presiding Officer, assisted by an Inspector, Convenor and Invigilators. So far as the June term examination in the Burdwan centre was concerned, there was no detection during the holding of the examination of any unfair means being adopted. After the examinations were over, a notice was published that the examination of 51 candidates including the petitioner had been cancelled for having taken recourse to unfair means.

It appears that the Governing Body of the Faculty held an emergent meeting on the 25th of July 1951, and resolved that the entire examination in all the subjects of the said 51 candidates including the petitioner, would stand cancelled, as the Governing Body had come to the conclusion that unfair means had been adopted. The reason why the Governing Body had come to this conclusion was that the answers written by a large number of candidates were exactly similar and most of the answers in Anatomy and Physiology were verbatim reproduction of certain pages of 'Grey's Anatomy' and Chakravarti's 'Aids to Human Physiology'. The Governing Body thereafter notified the said candidates including the petitioner that in view of the cancellation of their examination those who had already passed in two subjects would have to appear again not in the remaining one but in all the subjects. In other words, the notice purported to cancel the result of the previous examination held in November, 1951.

3. Thereafter the petitioner made an application before Bose, J. under Article 226 of the Constitution on the ground that he had not been given any opportunity of being heard before the Governing Body arrived at the conclusion that he had employed unfair means in the examination. The learned Judge by his decision dated the 4th of February, 1952, made the Rule absolute on the ground that the petitioner should have been given an opportunity to explain his conduct before the examination could be cancelled. The learned Judge directed as follows:

'The opposite parties are directed to revoke the order of cancellation of the entire examination in Anatomy held in June, 1951, and the order that the petitioner is to appear in all the three subjects at the ensuing examination. The opposite parties will be at liberty to enquire into the Individual case of the candidate concerned and after such enquiry they will take such steps as they are entitled to take in accordance with law.'

This order has been upheld by the Court of appeal. On the 29th of August 1952, the Governing Body of the Faculty intimated to the petitioner that in pursuance of the order of the High Court they had revoked the order previously passed cancelling the entire 'Intermediate Licen-tiateship' examination, held in June 1951, at the Burdwan centre. The notice proceeds to say as follows:

'A further enquiry will be made into your case for such orders as may be deemed fit. This enquiry will be made by an Enquiry Committee appointed for the purpose and you are hereby called upon to appear personally before the committee in the Meeting Room of the Faculty at Grosvenor House, 21 Old Court House Street, Calcutta on 8th September, 1952 at 4-30 P. M. to give such explanation that you may have to offer in the matter.'

4. It appears that the Governing Body had appointed' four persons to be members of the Enquiry Committee. One of them is the Vice-President of the Governing Body of the Faculty and who is also the Principal of the Calcutta Medical College. The other three members are well-known physicians of. Calcutta, all of whom are members of the Governing Body. This Enquiry Committee heard the petitioner and con-, sidered his case and, as it appears, made a report to the Governing Body on the 7th of November, 1952. A copy of this report is annexed to the supplementary affidavit filed on behalf of the opposite parties Nos. 1 and 2. It appears from the report that they were unable to accept the explanation of the petitioner and arrived at the opinion that in answering questions 1, 2, 3 and 4 in Anatomy, the petitioner had adopted unfair means of copying.

They also heard him on the question of punishment and recommended that the punishment should be cancellation of the entire examination of the term and if he desired to appear again and be otherwise eligible, he must appear in all the three subjects. The Governing Body accepted these recommendations. The High Court in the course of deciding the case of the petitioner had expressed the hope that he should not be penalised for having come to Court. The present application proceeds on the footing that the Enquiry Committee was a biased and prejudiced body and that the petitioner did not get a fair hearing. Having considered the affidavits I am unable to accept this case made by the petitioner. The members of the committee are well-known medical men and are more familiar with the matter of medical subjects than this Court. If the Enquiry Committee was properly constituted, I find no reason to question their conduct in conducting the enquiry.

5. But the more important question raised is as to whether it was open to the Governing Body to delegate its duty of hearing the petitioner to an Enquiry Committee. What is argued is that the Governing Body as a whole should have heard the petitioner. Let us examine whether this contention is well-founded. The Governing Body consists of 21 members including the president. It is the function of the Governing Body to arrange examinations and to publish the results. It is the Governing Body which appoints examiners and frames rules for the conduct of the examination. Under Section 6, Rule 1 the Governing Body has to consider the report of the examiners and the recommendations of the Board of Studies before admitting any person to Fellowship, Membership or Licentiateship after an examination. The point involved is as to whether in arriving at a decision the Governing Body followed the rules of natural justice. That rule demands that a person should not be condemned unheard. There is however no hard and fast rule governing such an enquiry. As long as it can fairly be inferred that the person charged with some omission or commission has been able to place his case before the enquiring authority, the rule is satisfied.

6. In -- 'Board of Education v. Rice', (1911) AC 179 at p. 182 (A), Lord Loreburn L. G. said as follows:

'Comparatively recent statutes have extended if they have not originated, the practice of imposing upon departments or affairs of state the duty of deciding or determining questions of various kinds. In the present instance, as in many others, what comes for determination is sometimes a matter to be settled by discretion, involving no law. It will I suppose, usually be of an administrative kind; but sometimes it will involve matter of law as well as matter of fact, or even depend upon matter of law alone. In such cases the Board of Education will have to ascertain the law and also to ascertain the facts. I need not add that in doing either they must act in good faith and fairly listen to both sides, for that is a duty lying upon every one who decides anything. But I do not think they are bound to treat such a question as though it were a trial. They have no power to administer an oath and need not examine witnesses. They can obtain information in any way they think best always giving a fair opportunity to those who are parties in the controversy for correcting or contradicting any relevant statement prejudi-cial to their view.'

In -- 'Nakkuda Ali v. Jayratne', 54 Cal WN 883 (B), it was held by the Judicial Committee that such proceedings need not be carried on with the strict formalities of a Judicial Trial. It will be observed that these are cases of statutory provisions. Where a statute provides that an individual or a body shall hear a dispute, it might be said that the hearing cannot be delegated. But where there is no such statutory provision, and a body which has to hear, the disputed point is an unwieldly body, I do not see why it is illegal for it to appoint a smaller enquiry committee out of its members to go into the question and make its recommendation. The whole point is that the person involved must have a hearing. As long as he can fairly represent his case, the rule of natural justice is satisfied. Of course the enquiry committee cannot straightway make an order: -- 'University of Calcutta v. Dipa Pal'. 56 Cal WN 730 (SB) (C). The recommendation must be made to the present body and considered by them and the order must be their order.

Upon the facts of this case, I am quite satisfied that the petitioner was given a full hearing and his case was adequately considered not only by the enquiry committee but also by the Governing body and the order was made by the Governing body. The rules of natural Justice are therefore satisfied and I do not think that it is any longer necessary to interfere with the verdict of the Governing body. I need scarcely add that if I found grounds for believing that the petitioner was victimised because he had come to Court, I would certainly have interfered. I find no foundation for coming to that conclusion.

7. The result is that the application fails and the Rule is discharged. All interim orders are vacated. I however make no order as to costs.

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