BALWINDER SINGH Vs. UNIVERSITY OF JAMMU
HIGH COURT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR
UNIVERSITY OF JAMMU
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I.K.Kotwal, J. -
(1.) By virtue of this writ petition, the petitioners seek to challenge notification dated 28-10-1981, issued by the University of Jammu, imposing punishment of cancelling their B. A. final examination for the year 1981 in all the papers and further disqualifying them from appearing in and passing any University examination for a period of one year. They have also challenged notice dated 46- 1981, calling upon them to submit their explanation to the charge and to appear before the Sub-Committee/ Competent Authority constituted for the purpose of holding an enquiry into the aforesaid charge.
(2.) Briefly stated, the petitioners' case is : that they were students of M. A. M. College, Jammu, and had appeared in B. A. (final) examination in the year 1981, their examination centre being M. A. M. College itself. On 1-6-1981 a general but peaceful walk out was staged by the examinees of the M. A. M. College centre, the reason being that the General English Paper (B) had been set out of syllabus. Stiffness of the paper invoked general indignation and resentment amongst almost all the examinees as a consequence whereof there was a similar walk out from other centres also. Career of so many students having been imperilled, a committee of prominant citizens and University authorities was formed to evolve ways and means to redress the wrong done to the students. This Committee took a decision that fresh examination in the paper will be held by the University for which the examinees shall have to pay the penalty of paying extra money. The petitioners also paid Rs. 60/- each and look the examination. Their result was, however, withheld for the reason that they had committed misconduct or used unfair means during the previous examination. They were chosen for hostile discrimination at the behest of the State Government, because they had been spearheading the common cause of the student community against Government's discriminatory, nepotic and corrupt conduct in granting admissions to professional institutions. The petitioners were on the other hand served with a notice dated 4-6-1981 requiring them to file their written explanation to the charge stated therein and to appear before the Sub-Committee/Competent Authority which was to make enquiry into the charge. This notice was served on them not before 7-6-1981, even though they were required to submit the written explanation by 8-6-1981. The petitioners appeared before the Sub-Committee hut no explanation was sought from them. The petitioners challenged the aforesaid notice through the present writ petition, but before the Court could give its decision, the University passed another notification on 28-10-1981, imposing punishment on them. No witness during the enquiry was examined in their presence, nor were the petitioners allowed to cross-examine any such witness, and nor were they allowed to lead any evidence in defence. In the premises, they have challenged the aforesaid notification on the grounds : firstly, that the petitioners had never gone to S. P. M. College centre; secondly, that the inquiry conducted and the punishment imposed was in clear breach of the relevant statutes; thirdly, that the impugned notifications were vitiated by mala fides and the petitioners were chosen for hostile discrimination; fourthly, that the inquiry held against them was violative of the principles of natural justice; and fifthly, that the petitioners having been already punished and fine imposed on them, they could not have been punished again by cancelling their examination and disqualifying them from appearing or passing any University examination for one year.
(3.) While not denying the allegations that the petitioners were not examinees at the S. P. M. Commerce College centre, but were taking examination at a different centre, the respondents have averred that they did cry hoarse and instigated the examinees to come out of examination hall besides pelting stones at the windows of the S. P. M. Commerce College building. They were correctly identified as the mischief mongers and properly dealt with under the statutes. The inquiry against them was no doubt entrusted to a Sub-Committee in the beginning but later on the charge against them having been found to be of a more serious nature, if was entrusted to the Competent Authority. They werp given full opportunity of tendering their written explanation and otherwise defending themselves. They were even asked to lead evidence in. defence but they declined to do so. Two out of them, namely, Balvinder Singh and Manmohan Singh even gave in writing that they had no evidence to produce in defence. There was no violation of the principles of natural justice. There might, have been some delay in sending the occurrence report by the Superintendent of S. P. M. Commerce College, Centre, but that in the circumstances of the case could not have been sent on the very same day, and in any case, mere delay in sending the said report could not vitiate the entire proceedings, as the statute under which if was required to be sent is declaratory rather than mandatory in character. The punishment imposed on the petitioner was strictly in accordance with the statute. The Competent Authority had made enquiries and there was no malice in any of the members of the Committee against the petitioners. The respondents have also raised preliminary objections to the maintainability of the writ petition firstly, that a joint writ petition based upon different facts and causes of action is not competent; secondly, that the petitioners ought to have first exhausted the alternative remedy of appeal which was more efficacious; and thirdly, that the Competent Authority was not made a party to the writ petition even though it was a necessary party.;
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