Skip to content

Rajkumar Agarwalla and anr. Vs. University of Calcutta - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKolkata High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSuit Nos. 55 and 67 of 1979
Reported inAIR1979Cal393
ActsConstitution of India - Article 226
AppellantRajkumar Agarwalla and anr.
RespondentUniversity of Calcutta
Appellant AdvocateParty in person
Respondent AdvocateNirmalendu Roy, ;Kajoli Dhar, ;Pamar and ;Bhabesh Roy, Advs.
Cases ReferredMadan Mohan v. University of Calcutta
- any court in any future application, occasion for which, i hope, will not arise; (4) for each centre the university should also depute an observer who should be a person outside that centre and who should also be asked to be present at least for a substantial part of the examination on each date to ensure and to report to the university as to the happenings on each date of each centre. (5) these directions are given to ensure orderly conduct of the examinations. honest and bona fide examinees should not be allowed to be held in ransom by designing persons. for them there is nothing derogatory in the procedure suggested. for air travels to prevent hijacking body searches have become normal for security reasons. 5. with these directions the rules and the two applications are disposed.....

Sabyasachi Mukharji, J.

1. These are two applications, one by one Raj Kumar Agarwalla and the other by Madan Murari Verma. These two petitioners were examinees appearing in the final LL. B. Examination held by the University of Calcutta. The said Examinations which were held in Vidyasagar Centre with which I am concerned in these two writ applications, were cancelled by the University. The cancellation is the subject matter of challenge in these two writ applications. The ground of cancellation by the University is that there was what has become unfortunately a familiar phase in the Indian educational system 'Mass Copying'. The expression 'Mass Copying' is neither an expression of art nor an expression of conveying any definite legal connotation but I suppose in the context it is used it is meant to convey to be understood where at an examination there is large scale copying by the examinees not necessarily copying by all or by any individual candidate, but copying by such a large section of the examinees that it is not possible to discriminate as to who have not partaken in that activity and to differentiate who have actually pertaken in that mass copying or who have not. It is well settled, before affecting anybody's right, and for the University, protecting the rights and morale of candidates, being prime consideration should be to ensure that there is no injustice done to anybody especially to the honest or deserving candidates who are willing to appear at the examinations, according to the rules and take part in such examinations. I am aware that there is a good deal of criticism about the system of the legal education imparted by the University of Calcutta. From the little that I knew I cannot say that the criticism is not justified. Perhaps there is some justification for the feeling amongst many honest students that for many there is no escape from taking resort to unfair means. But I am not competent here to embark about the propriety of our legal education in t'his forum. I am also not sure whether the system of 'question bank' and 'model answers' system in the manner done for this ensuing LL.B. examination are at all conducive for the purpose intended. Imitation of some foreign system out of context in a truncated form has become a craze for many and it would be a pity if the same happens with this University. My attention was drawn to such act of questions and model answers.

2. The present two petitioners contend, before me, that they had not taken part in any mass copying, on the other hand, their record in the University has been uniformly good and they have participated in many extra curricular activities connected with the University. All these are not disputed and perhaps these are correct which deserve recognition. But, at the same time, I have to examine whether the decision of the University to cancel the examination has been arrived at arbitrarily, mala fide or in violation of the principles of natural justice. The University states that there were reports of mass copying and for which purpose primarily reliance was placed on certain reports made by one Dr. D. B. Dutta in respect of the examinations held on 9th August, 1978, 10th August, 1978, 11th August, 1978, 12th August, 1978, 14th August, 1978 and 16th August, 1978. There were reports, on the incidents, on those dates signed by Dr. D. B. Dutta, who was teacher-in-charge of the Vidyasagar College, the examination centre with which I am concerned. Two of the reports were signed by Prof. G. Chakrabarty, who was the officiating Vice-Principal. His reports were dated 12th August, 1978 and 15th August, 1978. All these reports are annexed to the affidavit of Dr. D. B- Dutta, affirmed on 15th February, 1979 and relied on behalf of the University in this application. It was suggested to me by the petitioners that the language used in these reports was identical and therefore the reports do not, for this and for other reasons, reflect the correct position as to what had happened on those days and the University was not correct or justified in acting on the said reports which have been annexed to the said affidavit. There was some justification in some of the criticisms on behalf of the petitioners, for example, in respect of the first report, the University in its affidavit had stated that they had not received the same while Dr. D. B. Dutta asserts that he did make the report and in normal course it must have been sent by the office to the University. There is also some justification in the criticism that the reports contained more or less identical language while describing the incidents of different dates in the reports which were signed by Dr. D. B. Dutta and Prof. G. Chakrabarty. For all these reasons, in order to satisfy myself whether there was any justifiable ground or evidence before the University could act in the manner it did, I directed that the matter should be set down for trial on evidence and the deponent of the affidavit should come before the Court to give evidence and to answer questions in cross-examination Dr. Dutta has today deposed before me. It is true that on one or two points there are certain minor discrepancies between his affidavit and the affidavit of the University. Counsel appearing for the University states that the mistake may or may not be there. But on the whole, on the evidence of Dr. Dutta, I am satisfied that the incidents that happened, not perhaps due to any conduct of the petitioners, but the conduct of other students and examinees it was not possible to hold any orderly examination at this centre. Prof. Chakrabarty was also present but I did not feel it necessary to examine him any further. There was copying on a large scale and that is apparent from the reports. Whether it was copying by majority or minority or whether there were some students who did not copy, it is not possible to determine and demarcate in a situation of this nature. But the copying as such was done in such manner that continuance of the examination would have been absolutely ineffective. This is unfortunately becoming an unseemly feature of our educational institutions which is a reflection of the alarmingly decaying moral standards in all spheres in our country and the University, it perhaps has not been able to escape from that atmosphere.

3. The petitioners to these writ applications, who appeared in person, and if I may say so, conducted their cases with certain amount of ability, drew my attention to several decisions, where it has been emphasised that in a matter of this nature if a man is stigmatised as one who has copied, it will entail serious consequences for him and this must be done in consonance with the principles of natural justice. The honest students should not be victimised because the University failed to maintain and ensure orderly examination or discipline in the examination halls. There is undoubtedly certain amount of justification in this legitimate grievance of the petitioners, who I must presume, as there is nothing on evidence on record at this stage to hold otherwise, that they are honest students and that they had been made victims of the situation in which they have been made to suffer. There may be others who had the similar fate. But in a situation of this nature, as the Supreme Court has emphasised in the case of Bihar School Examination Board v. Subhash Chandra : [1970]3SCR963 that this is not a case of any particular individual being charged with the adoption of unfair means but this is the case of conduct of all examinees or at least a vast majority of them at that particular centre. It is not the case of charging one individually with unfair means but to condemn the examination as ineffective for the purpose for which it was held. Recently in a decision in the case of Madan Mohan v. University of Calcutta, : AIR1979Cal67 I had occasion to examine the previous examination where there was similar allegation and there I also upheld that if there were materials before the University to come to the conclusion that at the examination situation was such that it was ineffective for the purpose for which it was held, then the University was justified in cancelling such an exmination. The petitioners stressed that some, of the members of the visiting team who had visited the different centres were also members of the body which had cancelled this examination. This, according to the petitioners, was violative of the principles of natural justice. I am unable to accept this position. In a situation of this nature, it is inevitable that some of these members of the visiting team might have occasion to decide the question of which they have personal knowledge themselves. The materials that they gathered from the reporting centres might not be absolutely separate from their own materials. The petitioners insisted that I should examine the question papers and some answer papers including those of the petitioners to find out whether, in fact, there was any mass copying, as was done by the Supreme Court in the case referred to hereinbefore. There is no strait-jacket formula for testing whether in a particular situation the principles of natural justice have been violated, where there were materials for the University to act. In order to alley all doubts I had directed Dr. Dutta to appear in person and satisfy me that the position was such that the examinations could not be held in an effective manner. On the whole, I am satisfied. with that evidence and I think there were materials for the University to come to a decision which it did. I had to deal with the holding of this examination twice and I do hope that this will not be repeated.

4. But in order to ensure that I direct that the next examination which is scheduled to commence from 12th March, 1979 should be held in such a manner that this situation is not repeated and the honest students are not victimised at the behest of some designing persons, students or others. For this purpose, I direct, as follows: --

(1) that the University should name for each centre the particular number of invigilators and announce their names before. There should be one in charge of each centre. The invigilators and the gentlemen in charge should continue to be in the centre during the entirety of the period the examination is scheduled to be held on the particular dates;

(2) for ensuring entrance properly, the University should send to each center the names of the candidates who will be eligible to sit at those centres and the candidates will be required to sign before entrance against their names as appearing in the list of names sent by the University on production of the appropriate admit cards;

(3) the students should be admitted on production of admit cards by the invigilators at the gate and for this purpose they should be assisted by the appropriate police authority and the University is directed to write to the Commissioner of Police to render police assistance for each centre and the invigilators should be able to search the body of such entrants as they deem fit proper and for this purpose on the request of the invigilators if necessary, police should be authorised to search the body of each of the entrants, male and female -- male entrants being searched by male police men and the female' entrants being searched by female police women. There should be women invigilators also. And in any case of any disturbances in the examination, on report of the invigilators the police should be authorised to arrest the persons concerned creating disturbance, criminal trespass or nuisance, affray or use force or criminal force on the spot. The answer scripts of all the candidates should be preserved, at least for a period of three months after the examination is over for any examination or scrutiny by any Court in any future application, occasion for which, I hope, will not arise;

(4) for each centre the University should also depute an observer who should be a person outside that centre and who should also be asked to be present at least for a substantial part of the examination on each date to ensure and to report to the University as to the happenings on each date of each centre.

(5) these directions are given to ensure orderly conduct of the examinations. Honest and bona fide examinees should not be allowed to be held in ransom by designing persons. For them there is nothing derogatory in the procedure suggested. For Air travels to prevent hijacking body searches have become normal for security reasons.

5. With these directions the Rules and the two applications are disposed of. There will, however, be no order as to costs.

6. All concerned will act on the signed copy of the minutes.

Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //