Decided on December 01,1950

The Principal, Mohindra College Respondents


Teja Singh, J. - (1.) A petition was made by one Jang Bahadur against the Principal of Mohindra College, Patiala under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and Section 60 of Ordinance No. X [10] of 2005 for issue of a writ of mandamus. The petition was dismissed by my order dated 15 -9 -1950. The present petition is under Article 132 of the Constitution for the grant of a certificate that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.
(2.) THE Advocate General who appears for the Respondent opposes the application. His contention is that no question can be regarded as substantial unless there is difference of opinion about it and since the Petitioner's counsel has not been able to produce a single authority supporting his view that the action taken by the Respondent against the Petitioner violates the fundamental right of expression of opinion no certificate can be granted. Neither counsel could cite any authority under the Constitution but they are both agreed that the term must be interpreted in the same manner us it was done under Section 110, Code of Civil Procedure, Clause (3) of which lays down that when a decree or final order from which an appeal is sought to be preferred to His Majesty in Council affirms the decision of the Court immediately below the Court passing such decree or final order no appeal to His Majesty in Council is competent unless it involved some substantial question of law. It has been held that the term does not mean a question of general importance but a substantial question of law as between the parties to the case and that a question of law in order to be a substantial question must be a question in respect of which there may be a difference of opinion. Reference in this connection may be made to Gokal Chand v. Sanwal Dass 5 Lah. 260 :, A.I.R. 924 Lah. 473 and Feroze Din v. Nawab Khan 9 Lah. 581 :, A.I.R. 1929 Lah. 55. The only question involved in the original petition was whether the Principal was competent to rusticate the Petitioner for a year for issuing and printing a hand bill in which he had condemned the authorities of the Mohindra College in very strong terms. It was contended before me by the Petitioner's counsel that according to Article 19 of the Constitution the Petitioner was entitled to freedom of speech and expression and the Principal of the College by rusticating the Petitioner for a year penalised him for giving expression to his opinion. The Petitioner was a student of the College at the time he issued the handbill and his counsel admitted before me that as the Head of the College the Principal was competent to take such disciplinary action against him as he considered desirable but he at the same time argued that he could not punish him for expressing his views about the activities of the College authorities, including the Principal and Professors, even though by doing so he committed a grave breach of discipline. The contention did not find favour with me and I held that the Principal did not exceed the powers that he possessed as the Head of the institution and consequently no writ of any kind could be issued to him. Neither at the time the original petition was argued before me nor now the Petitioner's counsel cited any decision, Indian or foreign, on the strength of which it could be said that the view taken by me was wrong. On the other hand the learned Advocate General produced a decision of the Bombay High Court Lakshmi Kant v. C.R. Gerrard : A.I.R. 1947 Bom. 193 : 48 Bom L.R. 655, in which it was held that a publication by a student during the subsistence of his studentship criticising the Principal of his school and charging him with neglect of his duties was breach of scholastic discipline and the Principal was justified in expelling such student from the school. The learned Judge also held that whether the Principal expelled the student with a good or bad motive was immaterial, because if the fact charged against the pupil be admitted and be in itself sufficient to justify expulsion the Principal had a legal right to expel such student and the fact that be did it with a bad motive did not make it illegal. What was stressed by the learned Counsel for the Petitioner was that in my order dismissing the original petition I observed that apart from the qualifications enumerated in Clauses (a) to (b) of Article 19 of the Constitution, the fundamental rights mentioned in the Article are subject to Anr. qualification, namely, that the exercise of these rights by a citizen should not infringe the rights of Ors. and in the opinion of the counsel this view is inconsistent with the Article. In my judgment, there is no force in this contention, but even if there were any, this cannot be a ground for granting the certificate; because what has to be determined is whether there is any difference of opinion regarding the question involved in the case and not whether an argument given in my judgment in support of my view is erroneous.
(3.) THE petition is accordingly dismissed. There will be no order as to costs.;

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