Decided on October 16,1967



- (1.) This is an appeal from the judgment of a learned Judge of this Court allowing a writ petition praying to quash the disciplinary proceedings in respect of the malpractice of a student in the written examination conducted by the University of Kerala.
(2.) In the academic year 1964-65 the writ petitioner was a student in the 1st Year Degree Course of the Five Year Integrated Course of Engineering, in the Engineering College, Trichur, Mathematics is one of the subjects in the 1st Year Course, and students have to appear for two papers, Mathematics 1 and Mathematics II. In Mathematics I paper the writ petitioner secured 14% of marks when the paper was valued by the Additional Examiner, and 64% when it was valued by the Chief Examiner. In the said paper, the writ petitioner had answered questions Nos. 1[a], V[a], IX[a] and IV[a] in the main answer book, and secured respectively O mark, 2 out of 6, O mark, and O mark from the Additional Examiner. Pages 6 to 11 of the main answer book were left blank. There were some additional answer books, certain pages of which were also left blank. Two of the additional answer books were also unused and left blank. In the used additional answer books questions 1(a) and IX(a), which the petitioner had answered in the main answer book and for which he secured zero mark, were found reanswered and for these he secured 100% marks from the Chief Examiner. The Chief Examiner has stated that the difference arose because the Additional Examiner had not valued four additional answer books of the petitioner. The Chairman of the Board of Examinations, when he saw the difference in the marks reported the matter to the Board of Examiners in Mathematics for the Engineering Examination held in April 1965. The Board suggested that the University may take up the matter. The University thereafter called for the answer book of the writ petitioner and the answer book was handed over to the Dean of the Faculty of Science, who is the Convener of the Standing Committee for Examinations of the University. He noted that certain questions wrongly answered in the original answer book were correctly answered in the additional books and full marks were awarded for those questions. He also found that the handwritings in the main book and the additional book were of the same candidate but the manner the answers were written showed that the answers were written at different times. He suspected that the additional books were later inserted and suggested to the University that a high power committee be constituted to go into, the whole matter. Consequently, a committee consisting of Chairman of the Board of Engineering Examinations, who is the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Chairman of the Mathematics Section of the Engineering Examinations, the Dean of Faculty of Science, who is the Convener of the Standing Committee on Examinations, and the Registrar of the University, was constituted to go into the matter. The committee conducted an enquiry. They examined the Additional Examiner and the Chief Examiner. The writ petitioner was also allowed to take part in the proceedings. The Committee came to the conclusion that there was malpractice and that suitable punishment should be meted out to the candidate. However, since the Vice Chancellor was advised that there must be a formal enquiry, he appointed the 2nd respondent, a retired Principal of the University College, Trivandrum, as enquiry officer for conducting the enquiry. He conducted the enquiry, and submitted a report to the Vice Chancellor. The finding in the report was that the writ petitioner was guilty of malpractice in that subsequent to the valuation by the Additional Examiner he had inserted the additional answer books. On the basis of the report a show cause notice was issued to the writ petitioner by the Vice Chancellor. The writ petitioner submitted his explanation to the show cause notice, and thereafter the Vice Chancellor passed the impugned order debarring the petitioner from appearing for any examination till April 1966. Ex. P 21 is a copy of the proceeding communicated to the writ petitioner, and Ex. P 22 is a copy of the memo issued by the Principal of the Engineering College, Trichur, stopping the petitioner from pursuing his further studies in the 2nd year of the Course. The writ applicant sought to quash these proceedings.
(3.) The learned Judge found that the appointment of the enquiry officer was not in conformity with the rules framed by the Syndicate, Ex. R 5, that a copy of the report of the enquiry officer or the substance thereof was not supplied to the writ petitioner before calling for his explanation, and so there was a failure to observe the principles of natural justice, and issued the writ quashing the proceedings.;

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