GAJADHAR PRASAD MISRA Vs. VICE CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ALLAHABAD
HIGH COURT OF ALLAHABAD
GAJADHAR PRASAD MISRA
VICE CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF ALLAHABAD
Click here to view full judgement.
Jagdish Sahai, J. -
(1.)THE following question has been referred to us by the Division Bench hearing Special Appeal No. 682 of 1964 which is directed against the judgment of S. N. Ivedi, J., dated 20-8-1964 dismissing Writ Petition No. 5718 of 1968 filed by the appoint Gajadhar Prasad (hereinafter referred to as the appellant): "Whether the Vice-Chancellor of the Allahabad University is required to perform quasi Judicial functions in inflicting punishments upon students for breach of discipline?"
(2.)BY means of an order, dated 2-12-1963 the Vice-Chancellor of the Allahabad University (Dr. Balbhadra Prasad) expelled the appellant from the University with immediate effect" ana ordered that he be not admitted to any class or examination of the University in future. One of the submissions made before the Division Bench was that the appellant had not been heard before the order mentioned above was passed against him. It is under these circumstances that the question arose whether the Vice-Chancellor performed purely administrative functions in inflicting punishments upon students for breach of discipline or is required to perform quasi judicial functions.
Section 12 (4) of the Allahabad University Act (hereinafter referred to as the Act) reads:-- "The Vice-Chancellor shall exercise general control over the affairs of the University and shall be responsible for the due maintenance of discipline therein." Chapter XX of the Statutes deals with discipline and reads:-- "The Vice-Chancellor shall be responsible for maintaining discipline in the University and he shall have all powers necessary for the purpose." These are the only provisions dealing with discipline in the University and the power of the Vice- Chancellor to inflict punishment on students. The Act, the Statutes, the Ordinances and the Regulations do not expressly provide for calling for an explanation and hearing a student before inflicting punishment upon him nor do they provide the procedure required to be followed by the Vice-Chancellor in such a matter. Actually, it is nowhere expressly stated that the Vice-Chancellor can punish a student. The power to punish is inferred from the words "and he shall nave all powers necessary for the purpose" occurring in Chapter XX of the statutes and from the requirement of that statute as also of Section 12 (4) of the Act that the Vice-Chancellor shall be responsible for the due maintenance of discipline in the University.
The Allahabad University, like other Universities, is an educational institution. Its primary function is to teach students and conduct examinations. Such power to punish its Students as the Vice-Chancellor has is to secure smooth and proper running of the University. As is clear from the language of Section 12 (4) of the Act and Chapter XX of the statutes punishment can only be inflicted upon a student if he nas breached the discipline of the University and for no other reason. The punishment powers of the Vice- Chancellor must be judged in the setting of Section 6 of the Act which expressly provides that the University is open to all and ensures that no one would arbitrarily be deprived of the right to study in the University and the settled law that the right to receive education is a basic right in a democracy: (see S.M.N. Tripathi v. Dy. Inspector-General of Police, 1964 All LJ 554: (AIR 1964 All 540) (FB). The Vice- Chancellor cannot remove a student from the rolls of the University only because in his subjective opinion the student is an undesirable person or that he does not like the student. Clause 22 of the statutes provides that "the Dean of the student welfare shall be consulted by the Vice-Chancellor before taking action against a student on disciplinary grounds". Consultation with the Dean of student welfare is thus imperative and to that extent the Vice-Chancellor cannot act unilaterally. Clause 8 of the statutes deals with the appointment of the Proctor and Assistant Proctors and provides that the Vice-Chancellor may "take from the Dean of the student welfare and the Proctor such assistance as he might consider necessary." Clause 31 (a) of the statutes provides that "the Proctor shall assist the Vice-Chancellor in the exercise of his disciplinary authority in respect of the students of the University and shall also exorcise such powers and perform such duties in respect of discipline as may be assigned to him by the Vice-Chancellor in this behalf." That being the statutory position, the question to consider is whether the Vice-Chancellor, while punishing a student, has to perform an administrative or a quasi judicial act. As pointed out earlier, there is no express provision on the point. Generally a statute does not provide, in so many words, that the authority passing the order is required to act judicially. That can only "be inferred from the express provisions of the statute in the first instance in each case and no circumstances alone will be determinative of the question. The inference whether an authority acting under a statute, where it is silent, has a duly to act judicially will depend upon the express provisions of the statute read along with the nature of the rights affected, the manner oi disposal provided, the objective criterion, if any, to be adopted, the effect of the decision on the persons affected and other- indicia-afforded by the statute." See Board of High School and Intermediate Education v. Ghanshyam Das Gupta, AIR 1962 SC 1110. In the process of deciding whether or not to punish a student, and if to punish, what punishment to award, the Vice-Chancellor cannot avoid objective determination of certain facts. It is only when he is fully satisfied that those facts have been established that he ran proceed to punish the student.
(3.)THERE can be no escape from the conclusion that whether or not a student has breached the discipline of the University can only be decided objectively on the basis of the material available and is not capable of being determined on the subjective opinion of the Vice- Chancellor. Breach of discipline involves misconduct of some kind. How can the Vice-Chancellor determine whether or not a student is guilty of misconduct unless he has before him material in support of the alleged misconduct and until he has examined that material and satisfied himself that the same is trustworthy and sufficient to enable him to hold the student guilty of the misconduct charged. It is thus clear that the Vice-Chancellor can carry out his duty of deciding whether or not the student is guilty of misconduct only by judging the material in his possession and it is equally clear that he would not be able to discharge this duty properly and fairly or decide the matter justly without hearing the student.
As was pointed out by their Lordships in AIR 1962 SC 1110 (supra), in some cases, the misconduct attributed to the student may be of a very serious nature, "for example impersonation, commission of fraud and perjury". It may be assault on a teacher or a fellow student or theft. The Vice-Chancellor's "decision in matters of such seriousness may even lead in some cases to the prosecution of the student in Courts".
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.