Decided on May 26,2003



- (1.) An important question of considerable public importance concerning the educational scenario in the State arises for consideration in this case. The question is whether an educational institution has got the freedom to prohibit political activities within the college campus and forbid the student from organising or attending meetings other than official ones within the college campus and whether such a restriction would violate Art.19(1)(a) and 19(1)(c) of the Constitution of India.
(2.) Petitioner is a second year B.A. Degree student of St. Thomas College, Palai with politics as Main and History and Economics as subsidiaries. He is a College Union member and Editor of the College Magazine and Area Committee member of the Students Federation of India. Principal of the College refused to admit him for the second year B.A. Degree examination due to lack of attendance. Petitioner obtained an order from the Controller of Examinations to write the examination provisionally. Principal however did not allow him to write the examination. Petitioner then approached this Court for a writ of mandamus directing the Management and the Principal to allow him to write the examination or in the alternative to hold a special examination of Politics Main for the second year B.A. degree examination. He has also sought for a writ of mandamus directing the Management and the Principal to pay a compensation of Rs. 25,000/- by way of damages to the petitioner for illegally preventing him from writing the Politics Main Examination scheduled on 4.3.2003 and for causing mental agony and loss of reputation. Learned single Judge dismissed the Writ Petition. Aggrieved by the same this appeal has been preferred.
(3.) Petitioner, a second year student of B.A. Degree preferred an application for appearing for the second year B.A. Degree examination during March / April 2003 along with various other applicants. Applications received from the students were forwarded to the University by the Principal in January 2003. When the application forms were forwarded to the University the number of attendance of candidates was not taken into consideration since classes were not over. University after affixing the seal returned all the hall tickets to the college with a direction to issue the same to the candidates after verifying the attendance and progress certificates. In the forwarding letter dated 26.2.2003 Controller of Examinations had informed the college authorities to withhold the hall tickets of those who had not fulfilled the necessary requirements. Principal informed the petitioner that he would not be allowed to write the examination due to lack of attendance. Petitioner then submitted a representation to the Controller of Examinations who made endorsement in the representation on 3.3.2003 to admit the petitioner provisionally. Principal did not admit the petitioner to the second year B.A. Degree examination since he did not have sufficient attendance as per rules and regulations. Relevant rules pertaining to attendance is as follows: A student is eligible to appear for the exam if he has 75% attendance of the total working days for regular courses and 80% for professional courses. A shortage of 20 days could be condoned if applied in prescribed form through the Principal. Condonation will be granted only once during a year. Total number of working days during the academic year 2002-2003 was 148. Petitioner had attended only 70 days. He had applied for 15.5 days leave. Consequently he had got only 85.5 days attendance including the leave duly applied for and recommended by the Principal. The number of attendance required for writing the examination as per rule is 111 i.e., 75%. Appellant was having only 57.7 % attendance even after giving credit to the leave applied for there is a shortage of 25.5 days of attendance. Rules permit availing of maximum of 20 days leave. Petitioner was therefore not permitted to write the examination. In fact on 28.2.2003 list of students having shortage of attendance was exhibited on the notice board which included the petitioners name as well. College calendar for the year 2002-2003 also dealt with rules regarding attendance, leave etc. Principal also took up a contention that the Controller of Examination has no jurisdiction to direct him to relax the rules and regulations regarding attendance, consequently petitioner was not permitted to write the second year B.A. Degree examination.;

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