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Amit Kumar Bashista v/s Jamia Millia Islamia University

    Civil Writ Petition Appeal No. 922 of 2002

    Decided On, 30 May 2003

    At, High Court of Delhi


    For the Appearing Parties: B.B. Sawhney, M.A. Siddique, Malini Podval, Advocates.

Judgment Text


(1) THE case set up by the petitioner is that Jamia Millia Islamia University (Respondent No. 1), is a Central University constituted by Jamia Millia Islamia Act, 1988 (hereinafter "the Act"). The Vice Chancellor (Respondent No. 2) supervises all the activities of the University. . Respondent No. 3 is the Dean of Engineering Faculty. Petitioner after passing final year examination for the Diploma in Electronics Engineering in First Division with distinction decided to pursue B. E. (Electronics) evening course, as it provided reservation of 25% seats for internal students who have passed qualifying examination from the same University, provided they fulfill the minimum requirements for the course and qualify the entrance test. Petitioner appeared in the entrance test. On 22. 11. 2001 the result was announced and he was declared successful. After the interviews, University brought out the list of 30 selected candidates for admission and the petitioner was placed at serial number one in the waiting list. On 9. 1. 2002 second list was put on the Notice Board, selecting the first three names, in the waiting list. The admission form was issued to the petitioner, but he was refused the fee slip, without assigning any reason. The candidates below the petitioner in the Waiting List were given fee slip. When the petitioner approached the authorities, no reason was given. On 18. 1. 2002, petitioner made a representation to the Vice Chancellor, wh

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ch was not replied. Thereafter, petitioner approached this Court, praying for writ of mandamus, directing the respondent to admit the petitioner in B. E. (Electronics) evening course. Show cause notice was issued. (2) THE respondents, in reply, did not dispute the above-noted facts. However, it is pleaded that names of all those candidates who are recommended a particular course are ultimately vetted by the Proctor's Office. When the name of petitioner was sent there, it was revealed that he was involved in serious misconduct of manufacturing of fraudulent degrees/mark sheets; that he was named in the case FIR No. 454 of 2000, P. S. Friends Colony, under Sections 420/468, IPC and that his conduct and role was under investigation by the University authorities. It is further pleaded that petitioner also sought to bribe an official working in the office of the Proctor to procure admissions and that his conduct did not inspire confidence, therefore, the University was constrained to deny him admission. (3) IN the rejoinder affidavit, averments in the counter affidavit are denied. The petitioner also filed copies of representations with the rejoinder in support of his pleas. Facts are not in dispute. Learned counsel for the parties agreed that the matter can be heard and disposed of at this stage itself. (4) I have heard learned counsel for the parties and have been taken through the record. (5) LEARNED senior counsel, appearing for the respondents, argued that : the Vice-Chancellor is the principal academic and executive officer of the University under Section 11 (2) of the Act and by Statute 31 he is empowered to refuse admission on grounds of misconduct or indiscipline. The discretion vests with the Vice -Chancellor to deny admission to any candidate, if he is of the opinion that it will not be in the interest of the University to grant admission to such candidate. (ii) No notice is required to be given to the student, at the stage when his name is deleted from the Select List, and it was also not necessary to reply to his representation. In support of his submission, reliance was placed on the observations made in Ramesh Chandra Chaube Vs. Principal Bipin behari Intermediate College, Jhansi, AIR 1953 Allahabad 90 and Mohd. Zareeq Khan and Ors. Vs. Jamia Millia Islamia 1999 III AD (Delhi) 498. (6) THE main reason which weighed with the respondents for deleting petitioner's name from the admission list was the fact that his name appeared in FIR No. 454/2002 under Sections 420/468, IPC, P. S. Friends Colony and his conduct was under investigation for his alleged involvement in the manufacturing of fraudulent degrees and mark sheets. Petitioner has vehemently denied his involvement in any such misconduct. In order to appreciate this contention, it would useful to refer to the FIR, lodged with the Chowki Incharge, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi, on 6. 9. 2002 by Dr. Mehtab Alam, the Proctor of jamia Milia Islamia. It reads as under. "sir, a case of fake and fictitious certificate bearing Eng. No. 979264 and Roll No. 987128 (both fake and fabricated) which has not been issued from this University, has been reported by the office of Controller of Exams Prof. Iqbal Ahmad. The said certificate is in the name of Harish Kumar Basista, a resident of 1/3, Sarai Kaley Khan. It may be noted that one Mr. Amit Kumar Basista, a student of Jamia in University Polytechnics in Electronics Illrd year and resident of 119 Sarai Kalan Khan came with this fake certificate to get it verified whether it is valid. Later on Mr. Amit Kumar Basista brought the boy Mr. Harish Kumar and the said certificate belong to. I am a hereby handling over the boy Harish Kumar Basista to you for further interrogation and thorough investigation of the source, where did he get the fake certificate from. Please lodge an FIR and take necessary action. Mehtab Alam, Proctor J. M. I. "(7) A bare perusal of the FIR reveals that petitioner had brought a certificate of one Harish Kumar, living in his neighbourhood, to the respondent's office, to find out whether the same was valid or not The certificate was found to be false. At the direction of the office, the boy who had entrusted the certificate to petitioner for verification was produced before the Proctor. Assuming the story narrated in the FIR to be true, there is nothing in FIR to connect the petitioner with any fraudulent manufacturing of the fake certificates or mark sheets. There is nothing even in the reply affidavit to show that after investigation by the police, anything was found against the petitioner. Learned counsel appearing for the respondents took adjournment to verify the facts after the challan was filed. Learned counsel very fairly conceded that even during investigations, nothing was found against the petitioner by the police. In this view of the matter, the respondent University, by, no stretch of imagination could conclude that petitioner was "hand-in-glove" with the persons manufacturing fabricated certificates or mark sheets, as contended in the reply. Such a conclusion is patently perverse and cannot withstand the scrutiny of law even for a minute. Therefore, admission could not have been refused to the petitioner on this ground. (8) LEARNED counsel for the respondent next argued that after giving the representation dated 8. 1. 2002, petitioner attempted to bribe one Rahim Bux, an official working in the office of the Proctor, to secure admission and that this was also a ground which weighed with the authorities to decline admission. This again is without any merit. It may be recalled that on 9. 1. 2002, the name of the petitioner was at number one on the waiting list, but the fee was not accepted because of non-clearance of his name by the Proctor's office. Petitioner submitted representation to the Vice Chancellor on 18. 1. 2002. Therefore, on the date when the admission was refused, this ground was not even in existence. No reply was sent by the University to the representation of the petitioner. Petitioner submitted second representation to Vice Chancellor on 18th March, 2002 (Annexure P-9). It reveals that earlier when the petitioner had given representation to the office of the Vice-Chancellor, he was told that his file was under process in the Proctor's office and on 22. 1. 2002 when he went to Proctor's office, the Proctor was not available and he was asked by Rahim Bux, who used to work there, to give the fee (which was admittedly Rs. 13,250/-), and he could collect the receipt on the next day. Consequently, Rs. 13,500/-was entrusted by the petitioner to Rahim Bux. When the petitioner was not given admission, the official concerned returned the amount of Rs. 13,500/- by cheque on 25. 1. 2002 (Annexure 'p-5'). 'the cheque was dishonoured. Thereafter, petitioner appears to have given an application in Proctor's office on 3. 3. 2002. Petitioner was called through notice by the Proctor on 19. 3. 2002 (Anneuxre P-8), to sort out the matter concerning Rahim Bux. He assured the petitioner that Rahim Bux would return the fee by 1. 4. 2002, which was not done. The petitioner submitted another representation to the Proctor's office on 3rd April, 2002. It is pertinent to note that respondents filed the counter affidavit on 27. 5. 2002. There is no mention of the cheque dated 25. 2. 2002, for Rs. 13,500/-, given by Rahim Bux, which was dishonoured. There is no dispute that the fee amount was Rs. 13,250/- then now Rs. 13,500/- given to Rahim Bux could be treated as bribe. In the counter-affidavit there is no mention of the various representations, except stating that the employee was placed under suspension and disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him. The argument that petitioner knew that fee is only deposited in bank is without merit and the same is rejected.(9) THE ratio of the various decisions cited by the respondents is not applicable to the facts of this case. Law on the subject is well settled. While there is no absolute ban, it is a rule of prudence that the Courts are hesitant to upset decisions of the academic bodies. However, university organs and for that matter any authority is bound by rule of law and cannot be a law by itself. Where any action patently smacks of arbitrariness or unfair procedure, causing injustice or preferential treatment, the Courts can always interfere. In view of the above discussion, the action of the respondents in refusing admission to the petitioner, is clearly arbitrary and malafide exercise of discretion, accentuated by considerations not sustainable in law. Therefore, petitioner is entitled to the relief claimed in the writ petition. (10) NOW the question arises as to what directions should be issued. While issuing notice on 7. 2. 2002, it was ordered that "till further orders, in case any seat is still vacant in the course in question, the same shall be kept unfilled. "(11) IN this case, admittedly the petitioner has passed diploma in electronic engineering in first division with distinction from the respondent-University. He applied for BE (Electronics) (evening course). The petitioner was declared successful in the written test as wejl as in the interview, his name was in the waiting list dated 9. 1. 2002 at number one. He was denied admission and the three candidates below him were granted admission. The refusal to grant admission has been held to be arbitrary and same is not sustainable in law. (12) WHILE the relief to be granted was being considered, learned counsel for the respondents argued that the session for the B. E. (electronics) course begins in January and ends by the end of the year; the sessions for the year 2002 is already over and the session for the year 2003 has already begun and mid-term admission cannot be ordered. The petitioner may sit in the next examination and his application would be considered on merits. In reply, it was argued that the respondents continue to admit students even a few months after the session begins and admit more students than the sanctioned strength, Parties were directed to file further affidavits in this regard. On 29. 4. 2003 petitioner filed affidavit showing that for the academic year 2001-2002, respondents admitted 39 students in the B. E. (Electronics) evening course against the sanctioned strength of 30; and for the academic year 2002-2003, 69 students were admitted against the sanctioned strength of 60 students. Respondents have filed the reply, justifying the same. The relevant part of their affidavit reads as under:"so far as AICTE guidelines and approvals are concerned, I respectfully submit that the Respondent is a Central University established by an Act of Parliament. It is governed by the Jamia Millia Islamia Act and Statutes and Ordinances framed thereunder, and is empowered to take decisions to regulate its own academic functioning. AICTE regulations and guidelines, and in particular, the All India Council for Technical Education (Grant of Approval for starting New Technical Institutions, Introduction of Courses or Programmes and Approval of Intake Capacity of Seats for Courses or Programmes) Regulations, 1994, do not have binding effect on the Respondent University. Any guidelines/approvals are only recommendatory and are not enforceable against statutory Universities, as has indeed been held by the Apex Court. The Respondent University is empowered and within its rights, in light of its experience of self financing evening courses, to initially admit some students so as to at least partially neutralise the "drop out" factor. "(13) I have serious doubts about the validity of stand taken by the respondent University that the role of AICTE is only advisory and not binding upon them regarding the intake capacity of the students in a technical course. In my view, no professional college is entitled to increase the intake capacity of students without prior approval of AICTE as was held in Mallikarjuna Mudhagal Nagappa and Ors. and State of Karnataka and Ors. , (2000) 7 SCC 238,(14) BE that as it may, the stand of the University that excess number of students are admitted in each academic year, itself shows that admissions to the course continue even after the Session starts in January, 2003, One academic year of the petitioner, i. e. 2002 has already been lost. In the facts and circumstances of this case, another year of the petitioner cannot be permitted to be wasted. In view of the same, respondents are directed to admit the petitioner to the B. E. (Electronics) (evening) course in the current year, on petitioner's filling up necessary forms and depositing the requisite fee etc. within one week. (15) REGISTRY is directed to send a copy of this judgement, alongwith affidavit dated 20. 5. 2003 of the respondents to the Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education, Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, I. P. Estate, New Delhi - 110002 to enquire into the respondents' stand that they are entitled to admit more students than the sanctioned strength and for suitable remedial action, if necessary,(16) WITH the above directions, the writ petition stands disposed of.

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