1. Sri Santosh S. Nagarale, learned counsel is permitted to file vakalath for respondent Nos.2 and 3 along with learned counsel, Sri Sudarshan M.
2. Heard learned counsel for petitioner and learned Additional Government Advocate for respondent No.1 and learned counsel for respondent Nos.2 and 3.
3. Petitioner is an Engineering College. On account of certain malpractices detected during valuation of answer scripts of the students of B.E.Examination, the Registrar Evaluation (respondent No.3) passed an order dated 28.09.2019 at Annexure-A proposing following action against the petitioner namely,-
The entire staff including Chief Superintendent, Internal DCSs and Room Superintendents shall be debarred for a period of One year from all university examination related activities.
Practical examinations are to be conducted by both external examiners at BEST, Zalaki for a period on two examinations. The college should facilitate for the same.
Theory examination centre is cancelled for a period of one year (two examinations).
The college is penalized for Rs.10,00,000/- (Rupees Ten Lakh only), for violation of all the guidelines, rules and regulations of the University, which should be paid immediately.
Since the Variation of marks between the students is high, the results will be declared for all the students on the payment of above penalty.
4. The petitioner is aggrieved by the impugned action taken by respondents.
5. Learned counsel appearing for petitioner, at one point, submitted that the allegations made against petitioner are yet to be established by the respondents. However, on account of the order passed by the respondents to shift the examination centre, students are put to great inconvenience and hardship, inasmuch as the students have to travel more than 50 kms. to write the upcoming examination. Hence, he sought for a direction to the respondent University to conduct the examination in the petitioner's college itself or any other convenient place.
6. In view of the above submission, it was suggested to the respondent-University to consider the feasibility of conducting the examination either in the same institution or in the vicinity of the existing college with necessary surveillance.
7. Today when the matter was taken up for hearing, learned counsel for respondent No.3 has filed a memo on behalf of respondent Nos.2 and 3. The memo reads as under:
"MEMO FILED BY THE RESPONDENT NOS.2 & 3
The undersigned herein most humbly submits on behalf of the respondent Nos.2 and 3 in the above mentioned matter as hereunder:
On advise of the Hon'ble High Court, the respondent Nos.2 & 3 have taken up the matter for discussion with the concerned VC and Registrar and also a team of concerned delegates, wherein the collective OPINION has been formed out unanimously in the interest of the students of the BEST Zalaki Institution and the following conditions were suggested in changing the Examination Center, if any,
1. There is no alteration in the Order dated 28.09.2019 passed by the respondent No.3 herein except the ITEM No.3 therein i.e. Theory Examination Center is cancelled for a period of One Year (Two Examinations) vide ANNEXURE-A.
2. An upcoming scheduled examinations will be conducted at BEST Zalaki, subject to the following CONDITIONS:
a) BEST Zalaki has to pay the Penalty imposed Rs.10 lakhs immediately to the University (VTU) in compliance to the order dated 28.09.2019 at ITEM No.4 vide ANNEXURE-A.
b) BEST Zalaki has to ensure and arrange for the necessary Surveillance and VPN connectivity immediately.
c) BEST Zalaki has to ensure and arrange for the uninterrupted power supply and uninterrupted internet facility apart from VPN.
d) IN addition to CCTV, Video shooting at entire Examination activities like, QPDs Activity, Question Papers Collating and Distribution arrangements, Answer Books Bundling etc., are to be Video graphed by the BEST Zalaki and submitted to the University (VTU) on every day through file transfer and removable media in regular intervals as directed by the University(VTU).
e) IF any lapses are observed at any moment of examinations, the Principal of the College will be held responsible and necessary action will be initiated against the College and the Principal. In such cases, the relevant expenditure, if any, are to be borne by the bEST Zalaki Institution only. It may include shifting of Examination Centre in the middle of Examination Dates, Under such circumstances, the BEST Zalaki has to bear the expenses and arrange for the movement of students to the designated Center. The Center of such circumstances may be outside the Zalaki.
f) The invigilation duties are to be carried out by the BEST Zalaki Staff only. In case for any lapses on their part, the Staff and the Institution of BEST Zalaki will be held responsible and necessary severe action will be initiated against the BEST Zalaki and its Staff.
g) Both the Deputy Chief Superintendents, Sitting Squad, Regular Squad will be appointed by the University (VTU) during the Examinations. The Principal has to extend full cooperation to the external staff for smooth functioning of the Examination activities throughout the Exams i.e. from beginning to end of the Exam Dates.
h) The Regional Director, VTU Regional Office, Belagavi will be monitoring the entire activities.
8. Learned counsel appearing for petitioner has raised objections to this memo so far as imposition of penalty of Rs.10 lakhs and Clause 'e' of the memo which allows the respondents to change the examination center amidst the examination, in the event of any lapses observed during the conduct of the examination. Learned counsel would submit that imposition of multiple punishments by itself is harsh and disproportionate to the alleged malpractice and therefore the respondent be directed to reconsider the penalty levied by the respondent.
9. In view of the above submissions, petition is disposed of in terms of memo submitted by respondent Nos.2 and 3, subject to the modification that in the event any malpractice is detected during the conduct of the examin
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ation, respondent Nos.2 and 3 shall not, as far as possible, shift the examination center in the midst of the examination. Petitioner shall ensure smooth conduct of the examinations without giving any room for malpractices and shall strictly monitor the activities of the students writing the examination. Petitioner is at liberty to submit his representation to respondent Nos.2 and 3 within seven days from today seeking to waive off or reduce the penalty, in which event, respondent Nos.2 and 3 shall consider the representation and pass appropriate orders thereon within four weeks from the date of submission of the representation. 10. Petition stands disposed of in terms of the above order.